A Syrian insurgent held at Abu Ghraib prison testified by video on Tuesday that Army Specialist Charles Graner merrily whistled, sang and laughed while brutalizing him, and forced him to eat pork and drink alcohol in violation of his Muslim faith. \nAn Iraqi detainee later told the court that he was among a group of prisoners stripped by Graner and other Abu Ghraib guards, stacked up naked in a human pyramid while female soldiers watched, and later told to masturbate. \n"I couldn't imagine it in the beginning," Hussein Mutar, the Iraqi, said when asked how he felt during the alleged mistreatment. "I could kill myself because no one over there was stopping it from happening." \nThe prosecution rested after Mutar's video testimony. \nGraner's defense case was scheduled to begin yesterday. \nHis lawyers have maintained that Graner and other soldiers had no choice but to obey orders given by military and civilian intelligence officers to soften up detainees to get them ready for questioning. \nAmin al-Sheikh, the Syrian prisoner, testified that Graner threatened more than once to kill him and on one occasion told him to thank Jesus for keeping him alive. \nThe inmate also said he listened through his cell wall as Graner and other Americans forced a Yemeni prisoner to eat from a toilet. \nWhistling, singing \nAsked if Graner appeared to enjoy hurting him, al-Sheikh said through an interpreter: "He laughed. He was whistling. He was singing." \nHe described Graner as the "primary torturer" and "a naturally aggressive man" -- a characterization that led Graner, sitting in the courtroom, to roll his eyes and chuckle. \nGraner is the first soldier accused in the Abu Ghraib scandal to go on trial. Prosecutors allege the Army reservist was the ringleader of the abuse. Three fellow guards from the 372nd Military Police Company have pleaded guilty to abusing detainees. \nGraner is charged with conspiracy, assault, committing indecent acts and other offenses. He could receive a sentence of up to 17 1/2 years in a military prison if found guilty by a jury of four Army officers and six enlisted men. \nAl-Sheikh said he went to Iraq in 2003 to fight US-led forces, and he was taken to Abu Ghraib after being captured with AK-47 assault rifles, grenades and bomb-making material. \nWhile being held at a tent camp next to Abu Ghraib, al-Sheikh said, he was wounded in the leg and chest in a shootout with Americans after he obtained a handgun from an Iraqi guard. \nalleged abuse \nAl-Sheikh said he was later sent to Abu Ghraib, where Graner jumped on his wounded leg and struck it with a collapsible metal stick. \nAnother time, he said, Graner handcuffed him to his cell door with his arms behind his back for eight hours. \nAl-Sheikh testified that Graner also accompanied a US soldier who urinated on him, and that Graner was present when another American threatened to rape him. \nSpeaking outside court after the video testimony, Graner said he remembered al-Sheikh: "The last time I saw him, he was threatening to kill me." \nUnder defense questioning, al-Sheikh said Graner at times worked with Americans who were interrogating him at Abu Ghraib. He said interrogators known as "Steve" and "Mikey" made it clear that he would be roughed up by Graner if he did not cooperate. \nDefense attorney Guy Womack said al-Sheikh's testimony was good for his client. \n"It was the face of the enemy," Womack said. "It's very clear that he hates America." \nAl-Sheikh conceded that he did not see Graner and others making the Yemeni prisoner eat from the toilet, but said it was clear that was happening from what he heard.
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Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown