July 9, 2006

Five soldiers charged in Iraq rape-murder

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Four U.S. soldiers were charged with
the rape and murder of an Iraqi teenager and killing her
family, bringing to five the number of Americans accused of the
four deaths in March, the U.S. military said on Sunday.

A fifth soldier was charged on Saturday with dereliction of
duty for failing to report the case.

Last week a sixth soldier, Steven Green, who has now left
the army, was charged with rape and murder in a U.S. civilian
court over the killings at Mahmudiya, near Baghdad.

The case, one of a handful of serious accusations against
U.S. troops in Iraq in recent weeks, has outraged many Iraqis
and prompted some to call for American forces to leave.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called for a review of U.S.
troops immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law.

In U.S. federal court documents, prosecutors said Green
went with three other soldiers from the checkpoint they were
manning to a nearby house where Green killed two adults and
their younger daughter before raping and killing the other

A second soldier also took part in the rape, other soldiers
involved alleged. The two other soldiers who went into the
house told prosecutors they did not kill or rape anyone.

A fifth soldier in the unit said he was aware of the crime
committed after the other four had been drinking and talking
about rape but that he had not reported it afterwards.

"On July 8, 2006, the five soldiers were charged in
connection with their alleged participation in the rape and
murder of a young Iraqi woman and three members of her family,"
the 101st Airborne Division said in a statement.

"The fifth Soldier was charged with dereliction of duty for
his failure to report the rape and murder of these Iraqi
civilians, but is not alleged to have been a direct participant
in the rape and killings.

"All are charged with conspiring with former Private First
Class Steven D. Green to commit these crimes."

The soldiers face further investigation and a hearing to
determine whether the evidence merits a court martial.

The military statement did not identify the five soldiers
newly charged. Green was from the 502nd Infantry Regiment, a
unit of the 101st Airborne Division.