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Third US Army soldier charged with premeditated murder of Iraqis

[JURIST] The Multinational Force-Iraq (MNF-I) [official website] announced Monday that US Army Sgt. Evan Vela has been charged [press release] with premeditated murder, obstruction of justice, wrongfully placing weapons with the remains of deceased Iraqis, and making a false official statement in connection with the killing of three unarmed Iraqis in three separate incidents between April and June 2007 in the vicinity of Iskandariyah, Iraq [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. Vela is the third US soldier charged over the killings.

Last Saturday, MNF-I announced similar charges [JURIST report] against Staff Sergeant Michael A. Hensley and Specialist Jorge G. Sandoval, Jr. The three will face an Article 32 hearing [JAG backgrounder] to determine whether they will face courts-martial. If convicted of premeditated murder, Hensley, Sandoval, and Vela could face the death penalty. AP has more.

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