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Charges dropped against US soldier accused of killing Iraqi civilian

[JURIST] Charges [MNF-Iraq press release] have been dropped against a Pennsylvania National Guardsman accused in the February 15 shooting death of an Iraqi civilian near a US military base at Ramadi [MNF-Iraq report], a city west of Baghdad. Prosecutors recommended that proceedings against Specialist Nathan Lynn be stopped after an Article 32 [backgrounder] hearing preliminary to possible court-martial found no evidence that had acted illegally. The civilian is believed to have been unarmed, and prosecutors initially suggested that Wood knew this and conspired with other soldiers to plant an AK-47 on his body after he had been killed, but Wood testified he was thought the civilian was armed and there was no proof he was aware of the planted weapon. Military authorities have yet to determine whether another soldier charged in the incident, Sergeant Milton Ortiz, will face court-martial.

Investigations of other alleged unlawful killings of Iraqi civilians by US soldiers are ongoing. In June the US Army charged four soldiers for the deaths of Iraqi detainees [JURIST report; US Central Command press release on charging of fourth] in the northern Salahuddin province of Iraq and charged week seven Marines and a Navy corpsman with murder and kidnapping [JURIST report] in connection with the April 26 death of an Iraqi man outside his home in Hamdania. Earlier this month, three US servicemen were charged with rape and murder and a fourth has been charged with dereliction of duty in connection with the March 12 rape and murder [JURIST report] of an Iraqi civilian and the murder of her family in Mahmudiya. A former soldier has also been charged in US federal court. A military probe into the alleged killing of 24 Iraqi civilians [JURIST report] by Marines in the city of Haditha in November, 2005 are ongoing. AP has more.

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