FORT BRAGG, N.C. – A soldier who appears in notorious photos from Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison may not call as witnesses the general who was in charge of guards there or a group of detainees, a military judge ruled Tuesday.
The ruling came as lawyers for Pfc. Lynndie England (search) sought permission to call additional witnesses at England's Article 32 hearing, which is designed to determine whether the reservist from West Virginia will face a court-martial.
Col. Denise Arn, an Army judge acting as a hearing officer in this proceeding, trimmed the defense request for six new witnesses to three and said she would decide on the remaining requests after lunch.
Arn denied defense lawyers permission to call as a witness Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski (search), who was in charge of military police at Abu Ghraib (search), but said they could submit as evidence a deposition given by Karpinski.
Arn also refused to call the current commander of the MP brigade that England is assigned to at Fort Bragg or an Army investigator who searched soldiers' computers for photos.
Lawyers were given a few hours to continue searching for an MP platoon leader and a military intelligence sergeant. The defense also wanted to question a civilian translator and was talking to his lawyer.
The defense also sought testimony from an unspecified number of Iraqi detainees, but the judge refused after a government lawyer said it would be very difficult to find them.
"At some point it could happen, but certainly not this week," said Capt. John Benson, one of the prosecutors. Benson said the detainees are moved around Iraq and getting them together for testimony would involve an armed convoy, guards and translators.
The Article 32 hearing, which began earlier this month, is to determine whether England, 21, a personnel clerk from Fort Ashby, W.Va., should be tried on 13 counts of abusing detainees and six counts stemming from possession of sexually explicit photos not involving detainees. If convicted, she could get up to 38 years in prison.
England is the woman shown in photographs holding a naked Iraqi prisoner by a leash, smiling and pointing at a hooded detainee's genitals and posing behind a pyramid of nude Iraqis.
The defense has tried to show that England and other reservists in her Maryland-based 372nd Military Police Company were working under direction from military intelligence interrogators. Prosecutors have portrayed members of the unit as a rogue band of soldiers humiliating and mistreating prisoners for sport.
On Monday, defense lawyers asked for more witnesses after Arn said she would not allow testimony from Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, among others. Arn's rulings on who testifies apply only to the Article 32 hearing.