United States Army Reserve private Lynndie England is the woman seen mugging for the camera and taunting naked Iraqi male prisoners of Abu Ghraib prison in photographs made public in May of 2004. Although at least six other soldiers were involved, several of whom also appear in the photos, it was England who captured the world's attention. A cigarette dangling from her broad smile, she is seen pointing to the genitals of detainees and, in one photo, holding a leash attached to a prone prisoner. England grew up in West Virginia and joined the Army Reserve in 2000, when she was 17 years old. In October 2003, while she was serving as an administrative specialist with the 372nd Military Police Company at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, England posed in a series of photographs showing abuse of Iraqi detainees at the hands of U.S. soldiers. An army investigation was launched in January of 2004, but England's notoriety didn't occur until CBS News reported on the investigation and several photos were made public. When the scandal became international, President George W. Bush
and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
expressed outrage at the abuse and suggested the soldiers involved had operated independently. Transferred back to the U.S. and charged with assaulting and conspiring to mistreat detainees, England claimed she was ordered to appear in the photos "by persons in my higher chain of command," saying the actions were part of approved "psy-ops" (a military intelligence abbreviation for psychological operations). On 2 May 2005 she entered pleaded guilty to abusing prisoners, asserting that her fellow soldiers egged her on. The military judge, however, was not convinced of her guilt and declared a mistrial. On 26 September 2005 she was convicted by a military jury on six counts in connection with the prisoner abuse, including one count of conspiracy, and sentenced to three years in prison. She served 521 days (about half her sentence) and was paroled in 2007.