FORT HOOD, Texas – The Army scheduled a hearing for next week to decide whether to court-martial Pfc. Lynndie England (search) in the Iraqi prisoner abuse case, Fort Hood officials said Thursday.
England, a West Virginia reservist whose guilty plea was rejected this month by a military judge, has been charged with seven counts arising from abuse of Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib (search) prison in late 2003.
The new "Article 32" hearing, set to begin Tuesday, is the military equivalent of a grand jury investigation. An officer will receive evidence from both prosecutors and the defense and make a recommendation on whether to send the case to a court-martial.
It will be the second Article 32 hearing for England; the first one was held last August at Fort Bragg (search), N.C. The legal process is starting over because of the failed plea deal.
England faces two counts of conspiracy to maltreat detainees, four counts of maltreatment and one count of committing an indecent act, Fort Hood officials said. The charges carry a maximum of 10 years in a military prison.
England's plea was rejected after reputed abuse ringleader Charles Graner Jr.'s (search) account cast doubt on whether she knew what she was doing when she participated in the abuse. Under military law, a guilty plea could have been accepted only if the judge was convinced England knew that what she was doing was illegal while she was doing it.
Graner, who England says is the father of her infant son, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role after a January court-martial at Fort Hood.
England is seen in some of the most notorious photographs in the prison scandal, including one of her holding a naked prisoner on a leash.