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Two US soldiers sentenced to prison for Iraqi detainee killings

[JURIST] US Army Specialist William Hunsaker has received an 18-year prison sentence after pleading guilty Thursday to murder, attempted murder and obstruction of justice charges [JURIST report] relating to the killing of several Iraqi detainees [JURIST report] after a May 9 2006 raid in Thar Thar, a town near Samarra, in Iraq's Salahuddin province. A group of four soldiers released several detainees only to shoot them as they fled. Specialist Juston Graber received a nine-month sentence after pleading guilty [JURIST report] to aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon. The Army demoted Hunsaker and Graber to the rank of private and gave Hunsaker a dishonorable discharge. AFP has more.

Hunsaker and Garber are two of four soldiers from the Third Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] accused of deliberately murdering three Iraqi detainees and then covering up the murders [JURIST report]. Sergeant Raymond Girouard and Pfc. Corey Clagett will appear before a military tribunal in a few weeks. A US Army investigator had recommended that all four US soldiers face the death penalty [JURIST report]. The military must approve Hunsaker's sentence.

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