Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Iraq seeks oversight of rape-slaying case


In this photo provided by the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office, Steven D. Green is shown in A booking mug shot at the Mecklenburg County jail in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, July 3, 2006. Green, a 21-year-old former Army private first class who was recently discharged because of a "personality disorder," appeared in a federal magistrate's courtroom in Charlotte Monday. The murder and rape charges against him grew out of a military investigation involving up to five soldiers in the March rape and killing of the woman in Mahmoudiya and three of her relatives, one of them a young girl believed to be about 5 years old. (AP Photo/Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office)

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq's justice minister demanded Tuesday that the U.N. Security Council ensure a group of U.S. troops is punished for allegedly raping and murdering a young Iraqi woman and executing her family, calling the attack "monstrous and inhuman."

Justice Minister Hashim Abdul-Rahman al-Shebli condemned the attack a day after former private Steven D. Green appeared in federal court in North Carolina to face charges of killing the woman's family so he and other soldiers could rape her.

At least four other U.S. soldiers still in Iraq are under investigation in the March 12 rape and killings in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad.

"If this act actually happened, it constitutes an ugly and unethical crime, monstrous and inhuman," said al-Shebli, a Sunni Arab. "The Iraqi judiciary should be informed about this investigation which should be conducted under supervision of international and human organizations. Those involved should face justice."

"The ugliness of this crime demands a swift intervention of the U.N. Security Council to stop these violations of human rights and to condemn them so that they will not happen again," he added.

On Tuesday, Iraq's largest newspaper, Azzaman, expressed skepticism that the soldiers would be severely punished.

The newspaper said in an editorial that the rape "summarizes what has been going in Iraq for the past years not only by the American occupation army, but also by some Iraqi groups."

"The U.S. Army will conduct an investigation and the result at best is already known. One or two U.S. soldiers will receive a 'touristic punishment' and the whole crime will be forgotten as it happened with Abu Ghraib criminals," the newspaper said, referring to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. guards at a prison in west Baghdad.

Iraq's influential Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars condemned the alleged crimes Sunday, saying they were "a sign of shame to American invaders."

According to a federal affidavit, Green and three other soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division had talked about raping the young woman, whom they first saw while working at a traffic checkpoint near her home.

On the day of the attack, the document said, Green and other soldiers drank alcohol and changed out of their uniforms to avoid detection before going to the woman's house. Green used a brown T-shirt to cover his face.

Once there, the affidavit said, Green took three members of the family - an adult male and female, and a girl estimated to be 5 years old - into a bedroom. Shots were heard. Green allegedly shot the woman in the head after he and another soldier raped her, the affidavit said.

Green was dishonorably discharged from the Army because of a "personality disorder" before the attack came to light, the affadavit said. He is being prosecuted in federal, rather than military, court because he is no longer in the Army.

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