Soldiers Accused of Killing, Raping Iraqis Named

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BAGHDAD, Iraq — Two sergeants are among five American soldiers charged in the alleged rape-murder of a young Iraqi woman and the killing of three of her relatives, the U.S. military said yesterday in releasing the identities of the suspects.

It had announced Sunday that charges were filed against five soldiers after an investigation into allegations that men from the 101st Airborne Division raped and killed the woman, then fatally shot her father, mother and sister at their home in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad.

Sergeant Paul Cortez, Specialist James Barker, Private First Class Jesse Spielman, and Private First Class Bryan Howard are accused of rape and murder and several other charges as alleged participants. They could face the death penalty if convicted.


A fifth, Sergeant Anthony Yribe, is charged with failing to report the attack but is not alleged to have been a direct participant.

The five will face an Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury proceeding, to determine if they should stand trial.

They are charged with conspiring with former soldier Steven Green, who was arrested in the case last month in North Carolina. Mr. Green has pleaded not guilty to one count of rape and four counts of murder and is being held without bond.


According to an FBI affidavit filed in Mr. Green’s case, he and at least two others targeted the young woman and her family for a week before the attack, which was not revealed until witnesses came forward in late June.

The soldiers drank alcohol, abandoned their checkpoint, changed clothes to avoid detection, and headed to the victims’ house, about 200 yards from an American checkpoint in the “Triangle of Death,” a Sunni Arab area south of Baghdad known for its violence, the affidavit said.

The affidavit estimated the rape victim was about 25. But a doctor at the Mahmoudiya hospital gave her age as 14. He refused to be identified for fear of reprisals.


Mr. Green is accused of raping the woman and killing her and the three other family members, including a girl estimated to be 5 years old. An official familiar with the investigation told the Associated Press that Mr. Green set fire to the rape victim’s body in an apparent cover-up attempt.

Iraqi authorities identified the rape victim as Abeer Qassim Hamza. The other victims were her father, Qassim Hamza; her mother, Fikhriya Taha, and her sister, Hadeel Qassim Hamza.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has demanded an independent investigation into the March 12 case, which comes after a series of allegations that American troops killed and mistreated Iraqi civilians.

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