11 US soldiers charged with rape, killings in Iraq
Two of the 11 soldiers could be put to death for the rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl.india Updated: Oct 19, 2006 13:51 IST
Eleven US soldiers face charges for murder and rape in Iraq, including two who could be put to death for the rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the slaying of her family, the US military said.
The court martial, as US military criminal cases are called, are likely to be carried out in Iraq.
Four US soldiers are accused in the rape and killing of the girl in an alleged incident that happened in March at Mahmoudiyah, south of Baghdad, and outraged the Iraqi government.
Another four soldiers are being charged in an incident that happened in May in Salaheddin Province, where they are charged with having set free three Iraqi prisoners, then allegedly shooting them in the back.
The harshest punishment being sought is life in prison.
All eight of the suspects in the Salaheddin and Mahmouodiyah cases are members of the 101st Airborne Division based in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
According to statements released from there on Wednesday, their commanders found there was adequate evidence against the suspects.
In addition, three Marines face charges for an incident in Hamdania in April, when they allegedly dragged a civilian out of his house and shot him.
In the Mahmoudiyah case, the four men who are being charged and another US soldier who is facing civilian charges in the case had seen the girl passing through their checkpoint, news reports on pre-trial hearings in Baghdad this summer have said.
The men decided to go to the home of the girl's family, where the father, mother and her 5-year-old sister were allegedly herded into a room and killed.
After some of the soldiers raped or attempted to rape the 14-year-old, they fatally shot her, according to pre-trial testimony.
One of the soldiers allegedly poured kerosene on her from a lamp, and her bullet-riddled body was set on fire.
After being arrested, the soldiers reportedly gave conflicting accounts of who raped or tried to rape the girl.