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GIs Charged In Detainee Death

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Three U.S. soldiers have been charged in the drowning death of an Iraqi man who was forced to jump off a bridge into the Tigris River north of Baghdad in January, the military said Friday.

A fourth soldier faces charges for allegedly ordering a second Iraqi to jump. That man survived.

Two of the soldiers are charged with manslaughter, assault, conspiracy, false statements and obstruction, according to officials of the 4th Infantry Division. A third is charged with manslaughter and making a false statement, and the fourth is charged with assault and making a false statement.

The soldiers are assigned to the 3rd Brigade at Fort Carson, in Colorado. It is part of the 4th Infantry, based at Fort Hood, Texas.

The New York Times reports a new report by the Army's inspector general says military prison training and policy contributed to the abuses seen at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, but does not report systemic abuse or name top officials.

The ongoing investigations into several deaths of men in U.S. custody are one facet of the probes of prisoner abuse. The probes became public in late April when CBS News' 60 Minutes II broadcast photographs of the abuse at Abu Ghraib.

In other cases:

  • Chief Warrant Officers Lewis Welshofer and Jeff Williams, also from Fort Carlson, were reprimanded and forbidden from conducting further interrogations after the death of Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush. Mowhoush died from asphyxiation due to smothering and chest compression, according to Pentagon documents obtained by the Denver Post. The newspaper has reported that the military plans to charge Welshofer and Williams.
  • A U.S. soldier suspected of killing an Iraqi man in Kufa appeared before a U.S military court in Baghdad for a pretrial hearing, the U.S. military said Friday. Rogelio M. Maynulet of the 1st Armored Division was charged June 12 with murder and dereliction of duty for the suspected killing of an Iraqi male May 21 near Kufa, south Baghdad.
  • The U.S. military says Abdul Wahid died in American custody — one of four such cases under criminal investigation in Afghanistan — but the man's father blames the Afghan militia, not U.S. forces.
  • The Army has reopened investigations into two other prisoner deaths in Iraq that had previously been attributed to natural causes, an official with the service said this week.

    The Article 32 hearing for Maynulet, similar to a civilian grand jury in the United States, was held June 25-28. It is expected to reconvene in Germany on July 20.

    The charges against him "stem from an incident in which U.S. forces near Kufa came into contact with a black sedan believed to contain militia forces," the military said in a statement.

    "A chase began, and U.S. forces shot at the vehicle. The driver and a passenger were wounded. Shortly thereafter, the wounded driver was shot and killed at close range."

    The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command confirmed the probe into Wahid's death, but refused to comment before the investigation's complete.

    A spokesman for Afghanistan's Defense Minister, Mohammed Zahir Azimi, said he had not heard any report about the detainee's case.

    "I think the Afghan forces have beaten my son very badly and killed him," Wahid's father, Amanullah, told The Associated Press in an interview at his simple baked-mud house in Helmand province.

    According to a death certificate released by the Pentagon in May, Wahid's death was a homicide caused by multiple blunt force injuries complicated by a muscle condition — although his father said Wahid had no major health problems. It said he died in an American-controlled facility on Nov. 6, 2003.

    While no independent confirmation of the family's account could be obtained, the father's suspicions about how his son died highlight concerns over the conduct of the U.S. military's Afghan allies.

    "There's so much attention right now on abuses by U.S. personnel that we have forgotten there's fundamental problems of abuses by Afghan forces," said John Sifton, a researcher on Afghanistan for New York-based Human Rights Watch.

    "There's consistent and credible evidence that Afghan forces as a regular matter mistreat detainees under their control, whether they are arrested as criminals or Taliban combatants," Sifton said.

    There have been four confirmed fatalities of detainees in U.S. custody in Afghanistan since the invasion in late 2001 to topple the Taliban. A former CIA contractor has been charged in North Carolina with assaulting one of the detainees, Abdul Wali, who died in June 2003 in eastern Afghanistan.