Three U.S. soldiers have been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the drowning of an Iraqi detainee who was shoved off a bridge near Baghdad in January, the military said Friday.
A fourth soldier faces charges for allegedly pushing a second Iraqi into the same river, the Tigris, in the city of Samarra. That man survived.
Both Iraqis were civilians who had been detained for a curfew violation, Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Withington said. He said the four soldiers, all from Fort Carson, were on patrol at the time. All have since returned to the Colorado post.
Sgt. 1st Class Tracy E. Perkins, 33, and 1st Lt. Jack M. Saville, 24, are charged with involuntary manslaughter, assault, conspiracy and obstruction of justice, according to a summary of the charges released by the Army. Sgt. Reggie Martinez, 24, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and Spc. Terry Bowman, 21, is charged with assault. All are charged with making false statements.
None of the four had listed phone numbers.
‘A good kid’
Saville’s father, Tom Saville of Tappahannock, Va., said his son was a 2002 graduate of West Point and “a good kid and a loyal soldier.”
Saville, Perkins and Martinez are accused of pushing the drowning victim, identified only as Mr. Fadhil, into the Tigris on the night of Jan. 3. The survivor, identified as Mr. Fadel, was allegedly shoved into the river by Saville, Perkins and Bowman.
Saville gave the order to push both men in and then persuaded the other soldiers to deny that it happened, the military said. All four are accused of telling investigators they saw the Iraqis standing at the river’s edge when they left.
Perkins faces a second charge of assault for allegedly pushing another civilian into the Tigris on Dec. 8 near the city of Balad. No other details were provided.
At least 19 prisoner deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan have been investigated as homicides by the military; eight were determined to be justified killings of an escaping or dangerously violent prisoner.
Most of the other cases remain under investigation. The military has released no information on some cases.
On June 12, Rogelio M. Maynulet, a soldier with the 1st Armored Division, was charged with murder and dereliction of duty for allegedly killing an Iraqi man May 21 near Kufa.
Saville and Perkins were formally charged June 7, while the other two were formally charged June 28. They face a hearing at Fort Carson to determine whether they should be court-martialed.
That procedure, called an Article 32 hearing, has not been scheduled.
All still on active duty
All four remain on active duty at Fort Carson but have been reassigned to undisclosed duties, Withington said. Saville and Perkins are no longer in command of a platoon.
If convicted of all charges, Perkins could be sentenced to 26½ years in prison, Saville 26 years, Martinez 15 years and Bowman 5½ years.
The soldiers are assigned to Fort Carson’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, which is part of the 4th Infantry Division based at Fort Hood, Texas. All 4,500 soldiers in the brigade returned by April after about a year in Iraq.
Also Friday, the British government said a British soldier will face court-martial over the shooting of a 13-year-old Iraqi boy. The boy was wounded Sept. 15 in southern Iraq. Pvt. Alexander Johnston also could face an alternative charge of negligent handling of a weapon, Attorney General Lord Goldsmith said.
The Ministry of Defense would not give more details about what happened or say how badly the boy was wounded. No date was set for the court-martial.
At least two other Fort Carson soldiers are under investigation in the death of another Iraqi prisoner: Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush, who was smothered last fall.
Mowhoush, 57, died during interrogation Nov. 26 at Qaim, Iraq. The military has said Mowhoush died from asphyxiation due to smothering and chest compression.
In other cases, a soldier who shot and killed a prisoner in Iraq who threw rocks at him was punished and dismissed from the Army for using excessive force. Several Marines were charged in connection with the treatment of a Baath Party member who died of strangulation after a Marine grabbed him by the neck at a holding facility near Nasiriyah. Investigators determined his death was an accident.
A contractor for the CIA, David A. Passaro of Lillington, N.C., was charged with assault and assault with a dangerous weapon — a flashlight — after the death of Afghan prisoner Abdul Wali at Asadabad, Afghanistan.