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Former US soldier pleads not guilty in Mahmudiya rape-murder case

[JURIST] Former US Army soldier Steven Green [JURIST news archive] pleaded not guilty Wednesday in a Kentucky federal court to charges related to his role in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl [JURIST news archive] and the murder of her family in the Mahmudiya (also "Mahmoudiya") area in March. Green, who allegedly tried to burn the bodies of the victims to hide the crimes, was finally indicted [Reuters report] last week after a three-month delay at the request of prosecutors [JURIST report]. Prosecutors asserted that it would have been difficult to use evidence and witnesses simultaneously with military prosecutors in Iraq conducting an investigation [JURIST report] into four still-serving Army soldiers [JURIST report] facing courts-martial [JURIST report] for the deaths, and one other US soldier now in Iraq who was allegedly present for the incident and has been charged with failing to report it up the chain of command. Unlike the other officers implicated in the incident, Green is being tried in federal court [docket] because he was discharged due to a personality disorder before the charges arose. Green could be sentenced to a minimum of life imprisonment or even a death sentence for his involvement.

The Mahmudiya case has outraged Iraqi leaders [JURIST report], prompting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [official website] to launch an independent investigation [JURIST report] by Iraqis into the crimes allegedly committed by US troops. Reuters has more.

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