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2 US Army Soldiers Charged in Deaths of 3 Iraqis - 2004-09-22

Two U.S. soldiers in Iraq have been charged with murder for the deaths of three Iraqis. Military officials are saying little about what they call an ongoing investigation into the circumstances surrounding the case.

Two Army soldiers, one with the rank of sergeant, the other a specialist, are charged with premeditated murder in connection with the wrongful deaths of three Iraqis. Both are from the 1st Cavalry Division, the U.S. Army's premier heavy-armored unit based at Ft. Hood, Texas.

In Baghdad, Army spokesman Master Sergeant David Larsen says the two suspects are being held there pending a possible court martial.

"The specific events relating to these charges cannot be discussed in detail at this time due to the on going investigation," he said.

The Army is not saying whether the three Iraqis who were killed were in U.S. military detention at the time, or whether their deaths occurred during battle or otherwise, or whether they were combatants or civilians. One of the two American soldiers charged is also accused of obstructing justice and making false statements.

In a separate case involving possible abuse of a detainee, a spokesman for the Army's criminal investigation division says a criminal probe has been re-opened into the fate of an Afghan soldier reported to have died last year while in U.S. custody. This, after the U.S. military says it was given new information about the case from The Los Angeles Times newspaper quoting a witness and a report prepared for Afghanistan's attorney general which claim the detainee had been tortured.