Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Daily Telegraph | US soldier in gruesome rape claims

The Daily Telegraph
US soldier in gruesome rape claims
From correspondents in Washington
July 04, 2006

HIDEOUS hints of the desperate, dying moments of a young Iraqi woman have emerged in court documents which charged a 21-year-old ex-US army private of her rape and murder.
The soldier, 101st Airborne veteran Steven Green, also faces charges of shootingthree of her relatives, in a murky, and apparently horrific night of terror and death in war-torn Iraq in mid-March.

The US media and international media have chronicled the flurry of allegations of atrocities against US soldiers in rich detail, in incidents like the Abu Ghraib scandal, and alleged Haditha massacre.

But allegations contained in court documents accompanying the charges against Green were the most grisly and detailed allegations of misconduct yet.

According to the court documents, Green was assigned to a traffic control point in Mahmudiyah, in south-central Iraq.

He spent time with comrades on the evening of March 11, drinking, and talking about having sex with a young Iraqi civilian who lived with her family about 200m away, prosecutors alleged.

Then, according to an affidavit which accompanied a warrant for Green's arrest, they changed into dark clothes and burst in on the house.

Green "covered his face with a brown t-shirt" according to one identified soldier who allegedly went to the house with Green and two others and who was cited in the document.

The FBI affidavit claims Green herded an adult male, an adult woman and a female child into a bedroom - before gunshots were heard.

"I just killed them. All are dead," Green is alleged to have told his comrades.

The young woman's terrible final moments can only be surmised from the neutral legalise of the affidavit, which cites photos taken at the crime scene - and appears to hint at an attempt to cover-up the alleged incident.

"These photos also depict the burned body of what appears to be a woman with blankets thrown over her upper torso," the documents alleged.

US officials could not provide further evidence of the claims contained in the affidavit, and a lawyer for Green could not be contacted.

The allegations, if they are proven, would be the latest explosive evidence of atrocities by US troops in Iraq.

They could also land Green, who legal sources said did not enter a plea when he appeared in court on the charges in North Carolina on Monday, with the death penalty if convicted.

Court documents say the woman who was raped was around 25, and the child about five years old. However, The Washington Post reported from Iraq yesterday that the rape victim might have been as young as 15 years old.

The Post reported that the young woman had expressed fears for her safety after drawing unwelcome attention of US soldiers, and had made arrangements to sleep elsewhere in future.

Military officials were unable to confirm reports that the older man and woman were the parents of the rape victim.

Signs a cover-up may have been attempted by the soldiers were bolstered by the claim in the affidavit that the men returned to their post with blood on their clothes, which they then burned.

Each man told a fifth soldier at the post "this is never to be discussed again", the affidavit said.

The incident first came to the attention of other US military officers when three unidentified Iraq men approached the traffic post on the afternoon of June 12, and said a family had been killed in a house.

It was not until US military officials conducted a "combat stress" debriefing of soldiers from the same unit as two US soldiers whose mutilated bodies were found south of Baghdad on June 16, that the alleged events in the civilian house came to light.

Green, since discharged honourably over a personality disorder, was in the US by then, and was finally arrested after being tracked down by the FBI in North Carolina.

Agence France-Presse

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