Wednesday, December 22, 2004

New Data Hints at Poor Review of Abuse Cases

New Data Hints at Poor Review of Abuse Cases:
“Documents made public on Tuesday in connection with a lawsuit about abuses by military personnel in Iraq suggest that some killings of prisoners may not have been investigated thoroughly.

One set of documents, among many released by the Defense Department to the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit, shows that in one instance an Army specialist shot and killed an Iraqi prisoner in Tikrit on Aug. 8, 2003. The Army's criminal investigation division determined there was probable cause to charge the soldier with murder, according to one investigative report. Instead the soldier, whose name was deleted from the documents, was demoted and discharged but did not face a murder charge or court-martial.

The documents, the latest in a series recently disclosed by the A.C.L.U., tell how the prisoner had been verbally harassing guards and "fiddling" with his plastic handcuffs, and said the soldier shot him because the prisoner leaned over the concertina wire, in defiance of orders.

Investigators said that the guards were supposed to use warnings and graduated degrees of force before shooting to kill, and that breaking those rules justified a charge of murder. But the case appeared to be mishandled in several ways, including a failure to properly warn the soldier of his rights before he gave his statement.

Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, responded Tuesday to other disclosures made earlier by the civil liberties union by saying that all such cases needed to be fully investigated.…”

While previous news accounts have made it clear that some prisoners' deaths were not fully investigated, and that some certificates of death from natural causes were issued without autopsies, the new documents offer more detail about some of the killings of prisoners investigated as possible homicides.
con·cept: New Data Hints at Poor Review of Abuse Cases