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Two US soldiers charged in death of Iraqi detainee

[JURIST] The US-led Multi-National Force-Iraq [official website] announced Saturday that it has charged [press release] two US soldiers with premeditated murder, assault, making a false official statement and obstruction of justice in connection with the death of an Iraqi detainee. Staff Sgt. Hal M. Warner and First Lt. Michael C. Behenna, members of the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry stationed at Forward Operating Base Summerall approximately 130 miles north of Baghdad, are charged in the death of Ali Mansur Mohamed, a detainee originally thought to have been released from Coalition custody sometime around May 16. Warner, who also faces an additional charge of accessory after the fact, is scheduled to appear for an Article 32 preliminary hearing [JAG backgrounder] August 15. A hearing date for Behenna had not yet been set. The New York Times has more.

In March, US Marine Sgt. Ryan Weemer was charged [press release] with one count of murder and one count of dereliction of duty for his involvement in the shooting death of a detained Iraqi insurgent during MNF-Iraq's November 2004 offensive [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] in Fallujah [USMC timeline; JURIST news archive]. The charges against Weemer followed December 2007 charges against Marine Sgt. Jermaine A. Nelson for murder and dereliction of duty, and August charges [JURIST reports] against former Marine Sgt. Jose Nazario for voluntary manslaughter in connection with the same incident. In March 2007, a US military court-martial found 101st Airborne Staff Sgt. Raymond Girouard guilty of three counts of negligent homicide [Article 32 hearing transcript, DOC], but not guilty of premeditated murder for the deaths of three Iraqi detainees [JURIST news archive] held after a May 2006 raid in Thar Thar, a town near Samarra in the northern Salahuddin province of Iraq. In January 2007 US Army Specialist William Hunsaker received an 18-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to murder, attempted murder and obstruction of justice charges [JURIST report] relating to the same incident.

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