U.S. soldier jailed for Iraqi murder

Reuters

Fri Jan 14, 2005 04:02 PM GMT

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - An American soldier has been sentenced to a year in jail for the murder of a severely wounded Iraqi teenager in a Baghdad slum district during a Shi'ite uprising last year, the U.S. military said.

"Staff Sergeant Cardenas Alban was convicted on one count of murder and one count of conspiracy to murder at a court martial at the 1st Cavalry Division courthouse at Camp Liberty today," a military spokesman said.

Besides his jail term, Alban was sentenced to a reduction in rank to private and a bad-conduct discharge.

Alban is the second American soldier to be sentenced over the incident.

Staff Sergeant Johnny Horne was sentenced last month to three years in jail, reduction in rank and dishonourable discharge from the military after pleading guilty to charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Another U.S. military officer, 2nd Lt. Erick Anderson, has also been charged with premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit premeditated murder.

The cases stem from an incident on August 18 when Alban, Horne and Anderson were part of a U.S. Army patrol in the Shi'ite Muslim Sadr City district during a period of intense clashes with fighters loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

U.S. soldiers saw a group of Iraqi men in a garbage truck whom they suspected were placing bombs along a road, and opened fire on them. Several Iraqis were killed.

Alban and Horne were accused of fatally shooting an Iraqi man who suffered severe abdominal wounds and burns after the initial barrage of gunfire. U.S. military officials have described the incident as a "mercy killing".

Several U.S. soldiers have faced courts martial for crimes in Iraq, most notoriously the soldiers charged with abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad. Revelations of the abuse generated worldwide outrage.