Prayer Vigil Held for U.S. Soldiers Accused of Iraqi Prisoner

( [email protected] ) May 20, 2004 07:24 AM EDT

CUMBERLAND, Md. - Families of the U.S. soldiers of military police unit at the center of the Iraqi prison-abuse scandal are organizing prayer vigil for the public to support one another in dealing with allegations.

Families of the Army Reserves' 372nd Military Police Company and the public joined an outdoor prayer vigil Tuesday evening in downtown Cumberland, Maryland, lighting candles and calling for God’s blessings. Another prayer vigil was held Wednesday in nearby Hyndman, Pa., the hometown of accused Spc. Jeremy C. Sivits.

''Come join us to support our local military family in their time of need,'' a flier for the Hyndman event read.

Linda Comer, the unit's volunteer family readiness coordinator of Cumberland said that people came to pray ''for the safety of our troops, the strength needed by the families to get through this ordeal, for peace in the world, for healing in our community, for the Iraqis involved and their families, and justice for those accused.”

Sivits is believed to have taken at least one of the pictures of physical abuse and sexual humiliation of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad and being accused of conspiracy to mistreat detainees, neglect of duty, and maltreatment of detainees.

Other members of the unit who are accused of the Iraqi prisoner abuse are Sgt. Javal S. Davis of Maryland, Staff Sgt. Ivan L. ''Chip'' Frederick II of Buckingham, Va., and Spc. Charles A. Graner Jr. of Uniontown, Pa. They faced more serious charges than Sivits.