Harman Tells Her Story
Jan. 20, 2005 — -- Spc. Sabrina Harman, one of seven Army Reservists charged in the abuse of prisoners in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, told "20/20" she wishes she could apologize to the Iraqi people, but doesn't think she did anything wrong while she was stationed as a guard at the prison.
Photos of prisoners shown stripped naked, piled atop one another, being humiliated and abused, shocked the world and drew international condemnation. Harman, 27, said she never hurt anyone, but she was involved with some of the prison scandal's most iconic photos. In one of those photos, Harman is seen smiling behind a pyramid of naked prisoners.
The reservist is also charged with being involved with another of the most disturbing images -- a hooded prisoner standing atop a box with wires attached to his arms. Although Harman says the prisoner, nicknamed Gilligan, was not tortured or beaten, she acknowledges he was subject to sleep deprivation, one technique used to tire prisoners so they can be successfully interrogated. "He was only interrogated for three days. He wasn't beaten or anything like that. It was just stress positions, holding boxes, standing on boxes -- and he could just not be broke. Like he was pretty much laughing at us," she told "20/20's" Elizabeth Vargas in an exclusive interview airing Friday night at 10 p.m. ET.
Surprisingly, Harman said she didn't think she needed a lawyer when the Army's Criminal Investigation Division confronted her about the photos. "I didn't think I did anything wrong to need one. I just thought they wanted the truth on what was going on. I didn't think it would involve me at all," she told Vargas.
For the first four months of her tour in Iraq, from May to September 2003, Harman's unit, the 372nd Military Police Company, was stationed in the town of Hillah supporting the fledgling Iraqi police. She said the assignment felt like peacekeeping, and the Iraqi people she had contact with were "really nice." Her colleagues said she was especially popular with the children and once purchased a refrigerator for a family who had made her homecooked meals.