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Four U.S. soldiers charged with abusing POWs

The soldiers were accused of punching, kicking and breaking bones of Iraqi prisoners at Camp Bucca.
Four U.S. soldiers charged with abusing POWs

Last Updated Sat, 26 Jul 2003 15:52:46

WASHINGTON - The U.S. military has charged four U.S. soldiers of abusing prisoners at a U.S.-run prisoner of war camp in Iraq, a U.S. military official said Saturday.

The soldiers were accused of punching, kicking and breaking bones of Iraqi prisoners at Camp Bucca.

The soldiers, charged this month, are the first U.S. troops known to face charges of abusing prisoners during the Iraq conflict.

U.S. soldiers said they acted in self-defence when some of the 44 Iraqi prisoners being transferred to the camp resisted arrest and had to be wrestled to the ground on May 12.

The four soldiers have not been jailed but have been given restricted duties. They've been separated from each other and assigned to a base in Kuwait, away from the rest of their unit.

Family members said they are worried about the stress on the four soldiers.

"If one of them commits suicide, if one of them gets killed, somebody has to answer for that," said a mother of one of the accused.

Some released Iraqi prisoners have complained of being kept in tightly bound plastic handcuffs and blasted with loud music and strobe lights.

A military proceeding will be conducted to decide whether a court-martial is in order.

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