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Marines accused in Hamdania killing face preliminary hearings

[JURIST] The US Marine Corps [official website] Wednesday held separate hearings preliminary to possible court-martial at Camp Pendleton [official website], California, for two of the eight American soldiers, including seven Marines and one Navy corpsman, charged [JURIST report] with the April 26 murder and kidnapping of an Iraqi man in the town of Hamdania. The eight men allegedly dragged the man out of his home, shot him, and then placed an AK-47 rifle and a shovel near his body to make him look like he was burying a roadside bomb. As military prosecutors sought to build a case against the two Marines, Cpl. Marshall Magincalda and Pfc. John Jodka, one defense attorney denounced the pretrial hearing as "a rubber stamping process" and both defense attorneys said they doubt their clients will be able to receive a fair trial. Reuters has more.

So-called Article 32 [JAG backgrounder; USMJ text] proceedings held under the Uniform Code of Military Justice resemble civil grand jury proceedings. If convicted, the soldiers could receive the death penalty.

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