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US Military Court Convicts Marine in Iraqi Civilian Death


A U.S. court has convicted a Marine of kidnapping and conspiracy in connection with the murder of an Iraqi man last year.

The military jury at Camp Pendleton in the western U.S. state of California found Corporal Trent Thomas guilty Wednesday of involvement in the killing of 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad in the Iraqi town of Hamdania.

But the jury cleared Thomas on charges of premeditated murder, making a false statement and housebreaking.

Thomas is one of seven Marines and a Navy medic charged in connection with the killing in April 2006.

The servicemen said they were ordered by their squad leader to hunt down and kill a known insurgent in the town. When they could not find the insurgent at his home, they seized Awad from a nearby house and killed him instead.

The servicemen said they placed a gun and a shovel near Awad's body to look like he had been shot while planting a bomb.

Thomas had pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, conspiracy, larceny, and making false statements. Four other Marines and the medic pleaded guilty earlier this year in return for reduced sentences.

Earlier this month, Thomas' attorney said his client believed he was following a lawful order that he could not disobey.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.