Steven Green, and Four Others
FOUR US soldiers were yesterday charged with the rape and murder of a young Iraqi woman, then killing her parents and five-year-old sister to eliminate witnesses.
They join Steven Green, who was arrested last week for the same offences. He is being prosecuted in a civilian court because he had earlier received an honourable discharge from the Army, suffering from a “personality disorder”.
The sexual nature of the allegations have caused outrage across Iraq, a country where many have become otherwise inured to daily horror.
Rape is a taboo subject among Iraqi Muslims, and surviving members of Abeer Qassim Hamza’s family are said to been so ashamed by what happened that they buried her in an unmarked grave.
US military officials initially blamed insurgents for the deaths of the four Iraqi civilians, whose bodies were discovered in a burnt-out house near Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad, in March.
But according to a ten-page federal affidavit filed last week, Mr Green and other soldiers from the 502nd Infantry Regiment allegedly carried out the attacks on March 12, before covering up their crimes for several weeks. A fifth soldier was arrested on Saturday and charged with failing to report the incident.
The document said that the soldiers discussed raping the young woman after seeing her at a checkpoint. On the day of the attack Mr Green and other soldiers drank alcohol and changed out of their uniforms to avoid detection before going to the woman’s house. Mr Green allegedly covered his face with a brown T-shirt.
Once there, he is alleged to have taken the woman’s parents, as well as her sister, into a bedroom and shot them. “Green came to the bedroom door and told everyone: ‘I just killed them. All are dead’.”
Afterwards, he is alleged to have shot Ms Hamza in the head several times before taking her body outside and trying to set it on fire. A group of soldiers, including Mr Green, allegedly returned to the checkpoint with blood on their clothes, telling comrades: “This is never to be discussed again.”
The affidavit is based on interviews conducted by the FBI and military investigators with unidentified soldiers assigned to Mr Green’s platoon. The incident is said to have come to light last month while soldiers were receiving stress counselling after two other members of the same platoon were captured at a checkpoint and beheaded by insurgents.
Their mutilated bodies were found on June 19, but military officials do not believe those murders were revenge for the alleged rape-slaying.
Mr Green was arrested in North Carolina while travelling home from the funeral of one of the dead soldiers in Arlington, Virginia. He has pleaded not guilty.
FBI documents say that the rape victim was 25. Locals say she was 14. If she was a child, the soldiers are more likely to face the death penalty if convicted. Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s Prime Minister, has voiced anger over the incident, which is one of a growing list of alleged atrocities committed by US troops. He wants a review over whether they should be exempt from prosecution under Iraqi law.
Since a military investigation began in March into an alleged massacre by Marines of 24 civilians including women and children at Haditha, four other cases of serious crime have emerged and 16 soldiers have been charged with murder.
The US military and the White House said that these were isolated cases and that “99.9 per cent” of American servicemen were “doing an honourable job”.
The findings of a report into whether the Marines covered up the Haditha massacre will be released this week. It is expected to say there were “multiple failures” of leadership in pre-deployment training, in the tone set by commanders, and in how information was reported up the chain of command.
# 2003 Abu Ghraib Iraqi prisoners forced to engage in simulated sex acts, beaten and photographed in graphic poses
# November 19, 2005 Haditha: US soldiers kill 24 Iraqi civilians
# February 15, 2006 Ramadi: unarmed Iraqi is shot dead outside his home. A soldier is charged with manslaughter and another with obstructing course of justice
# April 26, 2006 Hamdaniya: disabled Iraqi war veteran killed. Seven Marines and a sailor charged with murder, larceny and conspiracy
# May 9, 2006 Three Iraqi prisoners are shot in Salaheddin Province; four US soldiers subsequently charged with murder, attempted murder and conspiracy
from hippie blog.