U.S. Seeks to Exhume Iraqi Girls Remains

#1
U.S. Seeks to Exhume Iraqi Girl's Remains
By RYAN LENZ, Associated Press Writer

TIKRIT, Iraq - U.S. investigators have asked Iraqi authorities to help them navigate cultural sensitivities to exhume the body of a teenager allegedly raped and murdered with her family by American soldiers, a military official said Saturday.

U.S. Maj. Mark Wright said U.S. authorities are aware that Islamic tradition has strict rules governing exhumation and could require religious leaders to become involved in the investigation.

"You want to be aware of these cultural issues while at the same time making sure that the accused receives proper justice," Wright, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, told The Associated Press.

Muslim tradition generally frowns on exhumations, considering them desecration of the remains.

However, Ahmed Taha, the uncle of the dead teen, told AP Thursday that relatives were eager to cooperate with investigators and would allow them to exhume the body of the alleged rape victim, Abeer Qassim Hamza. Her parents and sister were also slain.

Ex-soldier Steven D. Green was arrested last week in North Carolina and has pleaded not guilty to one count of rape and four counts of murder.

Four soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment have been taken to a U.S. military camp in Baghdad for questioning, Wright said. He would not say if those soldiers had been arrested, but another U.S. official said Saturday that several more soldiers would soon be charged. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Based on interviews and records, the U.S. military now believes the woman who Green is accused of raping and killing was between the ages of 14 and 20, Army spokesman Paul Boyce said Friday. While the military initially said she was 20, Boyce said he has seen documents that indicate she could have been about 14.

Wright said officials are also considering whether certain parts of a standard Western autopsy would be taboo in Iraq and if a religious leader or family members should be present to ensure cultural barriers are not crossed.

He said U.S. military commanders in Iraq are working with the family's relatives to expedite the investigation, but that it was not immediately clear whether Iraqis or Americans would have custody of the woman's remains.

U.S. officials are concerned that the alleged rape-slaying, which occurred March 12 near Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad, will strain relations with the new U.S.-backed government and increase calls for changes in the agreement that exempts American soldiers from prosecution in Iraqi courts.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has demanded an independent investigation into the case, which followed a series of allegations that U.S. troops killed and mistreated Iraqi civilians.

According to an FBI affidavit, Green and at least two others targeted the teenager and her family for a week before the attack, which wasn't revealed until witnesses came forward in late June.

The soldiers drank alcohol, abandoned their checkpoint, changed clothes to avoid detection and headed to the victims' house, about 200 yards from a U.S. military checkpoint in the so-called "Triangle of Death", a Sunni Arab area south of Baghdad known for its violence, the affidavit said.

In the week since the allegations came to light, the military has remained tightlipped even amid growing cries by Iraqi leaders for a fair investigation.

President Bush, speaking on CNN's "Larry King Live" last Thursday, said the Iraqis should understand that the allegations will be handled "in a very transparent upfront way."

"People will be held to account if these charges are true," Bush said.

In the chow halls and barracks, many soldiers remain convinced that the alleged rape and killings in Mahmoudiya were aberrations and that most American service members respect the rules of war.

"These crimes are against all the Army values, so if you don't have any of those values, you shouldn't even call yourself a soldier," said Staff Sgt. Ahmand Brown, 28, of Flint, Mich.

In the aftermath of claims that Marines killed civilians in the western town of Haditha in November, the U.S. military in Iraq ordered all personnel to undergo values training.

The Army has also paid greater attention to its rules of engagements, which determine when a soldier can use deadly force. But a bad soldier is a bad soldier, no matter the training, Brown said.

Green, who served 11 months with the 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell, Ky., received an honorable discharge and left the army in mid-May. He was discharged because of an "anti-social personality disorder," according to military officials and court documents.

But even before the rape-murder allegation surfaced, the military was investigating an incident in which three soldiers from the same battalion were killed by insurgents near Youssifiyah. Two of them apparently were abducted and slain, with their bodies mutilated.

U.S. officials insist they have no evidence that the incidents are related.

___

Associated Press Correspondent Ryan Lenz is embedded with the 101st Airborne Division in Tikrit, Iraq.
It sounds like the locals are cooperating the Army investigators. That's an encouraging sign. It is disturbing though. I doubt the Army is going to show leniency, they not only violated basic human morality, they went AWOL, brought contraband into their checkpoint (alcohol), and disgraced their country. Enough out of me though, what do you guys think?
 
#2
If armed drunken soldiers in AWOL in USA would make similar things then it would be a news number 1 and would be on front pages of all main newspapers.

I believe that mr.Bush should bring sincere apologies to Iraqi people. Namely he as supreme commander of American armed forces sent these soldiers to Iraq, he supplied them with weapons and authority. It is his responsibility.

Form emotional point of view I can understand even My Lai massacre as war crime committed under stress, because many your friends were killed and you are unable to find an enemy that done it

And note this crime happened after Abu Graib, after (I suppose) extraordinary measures to prevent any war crimes.

What are my prdictions? They are sad. The investigation would be very lengthy and probably it would be overshadowed by even more terrible atrocities. On this background the crime has a good chances to be almost forgotten.

Let's remember one case with alleged war crime allegedly committed by British servicemen (I don' tmention concrete case not to violate the rules). After months and even years, after Abu Graib and recent events, it looks not so terrible as it looked before.
 
#3
KGB_resident said:
If armed drunken soldiers in AWOL in USA would make similar things then it would be a news number 1 and would be on front pages of all main newspapers.

I believe that mr.Bush should bring sincere apologies to Iraqi people. Namely he as supreme commander of American armed forces sent these soldiers to Iraq, he supplied them with weapons and authority. It is his responsibility.

Form emotional point of view I can understand even My Lai massacre as war crime committed under stress, because many your friends were killed and you are unable to find an enemy that done it

And note this crime happened after Abu Graib, after (I suppose) extraordinary measures to prevent any war crimes.

What are my prdictions? They are sad. The investigation would be very lengthy and probably it would be overshadowed by even more terrible atrocities. On this background the crime has a good chances to be almost forgotten.

Let's remember one case with alleged war crime allegedly committed by British servicemen (I don' tmention concrete case not to violate the rules). After months and even years, after Abu Graib and recent events, it looks not so terrible as it looked before.
It is Mr Bush who is responsible, however, responsible for what? The case agaisnt these Americans has not been proved as yet, and untill it is proved or disproved then no apologies need to be made, surely such a statement would be considered an admission of guilt before the trial? What would happen if they soldiers are then found not guilty? or perhaps if found guilty it could be used as a claim that the court case was not fair as guilt had been decided beforehand?

Of course any investigation is going to be lengthy, a rape/murder case isn't something to be rushed. Surely you would prefer a full and proper investigation so the facts can be brought to light, you wouldn't want anyone convited on poor evidence, or even escaping punishment because of the same?
 
#4
theoriginalphantom said:
KGB_resident said:
If armed drunken soldiers in AWOL in USA would make similar things then it would be a news number 1 and would be on front pages of all main newspapers.

I believe that mr.Bush should bring sincere apologies to Iraqi people. Namely he as supreme commander of American armed forces sent these soldiers to Iraq, he supplied them with weapons and authority. It is his responsibility.

Form emotional point of view I can understand even My Lai massacre as war crime committed under stress, because many your friends were killed and you are unable to find an enemy that done it

And note this crime happened after Abu Graib, after (I suppose) extraordinary measures to prevent any war crimes.

What are my prdictions? They are sad. The investigation would be very lengthy and probably it would be overshadowed by even more terrible atrocities. On this background the crime has a good chances to be almost forgotten.

Let's remember one case with alleged war crime allegedly committed by British servicemen (I don' tmention concrete case not to violate the rules). After months and even years, after Abu Graib and recent events, it looks not so terrible as it looked before.
It is Mr Bush who is responsible, however, responsible for what? The case agaisnt these Americans has not been proved as yet, and untill it is proved or disproved then no apologies need to be made, surely such a statement would be considered an admission of guilt before the trial? What would happen if they soldiers are then found not guilty? or perhaps if found guilty it could be used as a claim that the court case was not fair as guilt had been decided beforehand?

Of course any investigation is going to be lengthy, a rape/murder case isn't something to be rushed. Surely you would prefer a full and proper investigation so the facts can be brought to light, you wouldn't want anyone convited on poor evidence, or even escaping punishment because of the same?
I understand your point. Presuption of innocence. Innocent until proven guilty. But suppose that somebody was detained by American or British armed forces. He was in healthy state in the moment of the detention. But he died in custody apparently not from natural causes. In this case

1. The guilt of individuals responsible could be estanlished in a kengthy investigation and scrutinised in a lengthy trial

but

2. The guilt of the state is obvious. Reasonable material compensation and appologies should be provided immediately.

In the case that we are discussing the guilt of the state as I understand has been established because Washington Post would not publish such a horrific story without sufficiet ground.

I hope you understand my point.
 

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