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Military police chief to be court-martialed on charges of aiding enemy in Iraq

[JURIST] The US military announced Thursday that charges [Central Command press release; JURIST report] against Lt. Col. William H. Steele, the former commander of the 451st Military Police Detachment in charge of the detention facility at Camp Cropper [Wikipedia backgrounder] in Iraq, has been referred to a court-martial on charges of aiding the enemy, unauthorized possession of classified information, disobeying orders, and various counts of conduct unbecoming an officer, including having an improper relationship with an interpreter between October 2005 and February 2007. He also faces charges of possessing pornographic videos contrary to a general order. Military officials say that if convicted of aiding the enemy, the maximum sentence Steele could face would be life imprisonment. Steele has been in military custody since his arrest in Kuwait in March.

Camp Cropper, located near Baghdad International Airport, is the second-largest US-run military prison [WP report] in Iraq after Camp Bucca in the wake of the closing of the notorious Abu Ghraib [JURIST news archive] prison which the US emptied [JURIST report] and transferred to the Iraqi government in 2006. Cropper currently has some 3000 inmates. Reuters has more. AP has additional coverage.

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