US military tribunal to wrap up hearing

August 9th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: US military tribunal to wrap up hearing

US military tribunal to wrap up hearing on rape-slaying of Iraqi girl

Media: AFP
Byline: n/a
Date: 9 August 2006

Body: BAGHDAD, Aug 9, 2006 (AFP) - A US military hearing to determine
whether to court martial a group of soldiers for the rape and murder of a
teenage Iraqi girl and the slaughter of her family was set to wrap up
proceedings Wednesday.

Specialist James Barker, Sergeant Paul Cortez and Privates Bryan Howard and
Jesse Spielman have been accused of taking varying roles in a massacre in a
town south of Baghdad on March 12.

Private Steven Green, described by the defence as the ring-leader, has been
charged with rape and murder and will stand trial in a civilian court in the
US state of Kentucky, after being discharged from the army for "personality

He has pleaded not guilty.

The military hearing will also decide whether to charge Sergeant Anthony
Yribe with dereliction of duty for failing to report what he later found out
about the rape and killings.

On Tuesday, in their closing arguments after three days of legal debate, the
military prosecutors charged that the crime was a result of a detailed plan
by the soldiers.

Prosecutor Captain Alex Picklands dismissed defence arguments that the
killings could be attributed to the stressful conditions at the soldiers'
checkpoint in Mahmudiyah.

"They gathered together over cards and booze and came up with a plan to rape
and murder that little girl," he said.

"Murder not war. Rape not war. That's what we are here talking about today.
Not all that business about cold food, checkpoints, personnel assignments.
Cold food didn't kill that family," he told the panel.

"Personnel assignments didn't rape and murder that 14-year-old little girl."

Picklands said the soldiers knew the girl as they had seen her on previous

"She was young and attractive. They knew her because they had seen her on a
previous patrol. She was close. She was vulnerable," the prosecutor said.

Defence lawyers however, strove to pin the largest part of the blame for
what happened on Green.

"Green, he's the one who should be facing capital murder," David Sheldon,
counsel for Barker, said. "These soldiers here don't deserve that, not a one
of them."

"When you put an individual like that in a stressful situation, he becomes a
canister of gas waiting to explode," Sheldon said, referring to Green.

"There was no meeting of the minds. That was a plan that Green executed and
the soldiers are not responsible."

Closing arguments are expected to conclude Wednesday.

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