EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Four soldiers from the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division will be court-martialed for the alleged rape of an Iraqi girl and the murder of her family, and two will face the death penalty, the military ordered Wednesday.
The charges against the Fort Campbell soldiers stem from rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi in her family's home in Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad — a case that sparked international outrage and added more fuel to claims of abuse by U.S. forces in Iraq.
The charges came as the military announced that a total of eight soldiers would be court-martialied, with the four others to be tried in a separate court martial on charges of murdering Iraqi prisoners in northern Iraq's northern Salahuddin province during a raid on a village.
In the rape and murder case, military authorities said they would seek the death penalty against Sgt. Paul E. Cortez and Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman.
Spc. James P. Barker and Pfc. Bryan L. Howard are also accused in the rape and murders but will not face the death penalty, the military said in a statement.
Former Pvt. Steven Green, who was discharged for a personality disorder and arrested in North Carolina, will be tried in federal court in Kentucky. Green has pleaded not guilty to one count of rape and four counts of murder.
Military prosecutors have said the five — all from the division's 502nd Infantry Regiment — planned the attack from a checkpoint near the family's home, changed their clothing to hide their identities and set the girl's body on fire to destroy evidence.
In the other case, Pfc. Corey R. Clagett, Spc. William B. Hunsaker, Staff Sgt. Raymond L. Girouard and Spc. Juston R. Graber are accused of murdering three Iraqi men taken from a house May 9 on a marshy island outside Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad.
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