Marines Could Face Murder Charges After Shot Man Passed Off as Insurgent
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
WASHINGTON – A group of American Marines could face murder and kidnapping charges after military investigators concluded they were involved in the death of a disabled Iraqi.
The 52-year-old man was shot dead and made to look as though he was an insurgent who had been preparing a roadside bomb when his body was dumped beside a highway along with a shovel and an AK-47 assault rifle.
The investigators’ findings were passed to the Associated Press by a Pentagon official closely linked to the inquiry.
Relatives of Hashim Ibrahim Awad al-Zobaie have agreed that his body be exhumed and flown to a military morgue in America for tests.
Zobaie lived in a village close to Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad and was known as Hashim the Lame because he had a metal bar inserted in his leg.
The case is separate from the alleged killings of 24 civilians in Haditha last year, but Zobaie’s death in Hamdaniya, west of the Iraqi capital, also has raised questions about the discipline of some American units. Officers say their units have been under fierce pressure because of mounting casualties from in surgents who hide among the civilian population.
Seven Marines and a naval rating are under arrest at a base in California as a result of the incident but have not been charged.
Their lawyers have complained about them being shackled at the wrists, feet, and waist. Some are also in solitary confinement. A lawyer who represents the naval rating, Jeremiah Sullivan, predicted charges of murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy could be brought.
But he said, “The reason they are in such oppressive conditions is because of the sensational nature of this case, and that’s wrong.”
He refused to comment on the allegations leaking from the military inquiry and noted that no formal charges have been leveled against any of the men over the incident in April.
Members of a Marine foot patrol said Zobaie was killed during a gunfight after they came upon him digging a hole for a roadside bomb.
A Washington Post investigation found neighbors and relatives who said the Marines had entered a house, dragged the Iraqi outside, and shot him four times in the face.