Four more U.S. soldiers charged with rape of 14-year-old girl, murders

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Monday, July 10, 2006

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The U.S. military have charged four more soldiers with the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi, and the murder of her parents and sister.

U.S. officials originally estimated the girl's age to be 25, but have since lowered their estimate. The girl's identity card and death certificate show her birth date as August 19, 1991. This was also confirmed by the mayor of Mahmoudiya, Mouyad Fadhil Saif, while speaking to CNN. U.S. Army spokesman Paul Boyce also said he has seen documents that indicate she could have been about 14.

The soldiers allegedly conspired with Steven Green, who was charged on July 3 with rape and murder in connection with the same events. A sixth soldier was charged with dereliction of duty for not reporting the crime back in March when it happened.

A U.S. Justice Department affidavit states that the rape was pre-meditated and that three soldiers accompanied Green into the house while another soldier monitored the radio while the assault took place. The affidavit says that Steven Green shot the woman's family, including her 5-year old sister. He and another soldier then raped Abeer, and Green fatally shot her.

The affidavit quotes soldiers telling military investigators that Green and his companions then set the family's house on fire, burned their bloodstained clothing, and threw an AK-47 rifle used in the killings into a canal, in an effort to destroy evidence of the crime.

A U.S. military official has told the Associated Press that U.S. investigators will attempt to have Abeer's body exhumed in order to to collect forensic evidence.

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