Baghdad shootings: court martial of US soldier begins
A US soldier, 26, accused of shooting four blindfolded Iraqi prisoners in the head and dumping their bodies in a canal near Baghdad went on trial Tuesday before a court martial in Germany, dpa reported.
He and two other soldiers, 27 and 40, had been ordered to release the prisoners, but are alleged to have instead murdered them in early 2007 out of a desire to avenge the killings of US soldiers.
All are being tried at the Grafenwoehr US Army base in Vilseck, Germany where they lived before deployment to Iraq. The other two are to face trial later. Accounts of the killings have caused revulsion in the United States and in the Arab world.
Two men who helped plot the murders but did not personally kill any prisoners were earlier jailed for seven and eight months respectively. A sixth man is be tried as an accomplice.
A US military spokesman said Tuesday it was uncertain how long the trial would last, but several hearing days had been scheduled.
Military lawyers said the sentences so far had been lenient because those convicted first had agreed to testify against the main defendants.