The U.S. military prison guard convicted of abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib said on Saturday he complained repeatedly to superiors about the rough treatment he was forced to mete out to prisoners.
Charles Graner, who was found guilty on Friday on 10 charges in the scandal that has badly damaged America’s reputation, said during the sentencing phase of his court-martial that he was told to “follow orders.”
The military jury that convicted Graner, seen as the ringleader in the Abu Ghraib abuse case, will consider later on Saturday whether to pass the maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Graner, 36, the first soldier to go on trial in the scandal, took the stand for the first time on Saturday to ask the jury for a lesser sentence.
He named several higher-ranking people to whom he complained about the conditions or treatment forced upon the prisoners, citing isolation cells where he said they were kept on a limited sleep cycle and diet.
“We had a person in an isolation cell … we were terrorizing him,” he said referring to sleep deprivation tactics and erratic meal times.
“A lot of our off-the-wall stuff was from the civilian interrogator,” Graner said. “We yelled and we screamed a lot.”
When he complained to superiors, he said he was told to “follow your order, charge on.”
The former civilian prison guard showed little emotion on Friday after the jury of 10 male officers and enlisted men found him guilty on 10 charges, many of which were documented by photographs of sexual humiliation of naked male prisoners that shocked the world.