Saturday, October 07, 2006

Medic says marines murdered Iraqi

For some reason, this is being buried in American publications. It's prominently featured on AOL News, and that's it. Other than that, the American Papers have it as a minor story, if they mention it at all, whereas it is prominently featured in the Jerusalem Post, BBC, Australia News, etc.

Medic says marines murdered Iraqi

A Navy medic has told his court-martial in California how US marines seized an Iraqi civilian, threw him into a hole and shot him in the head 10 times.

US Petty Officer Melson J Bacos agreed a plea bargain to avoid murder charges and will testify against seven marines in later hearings.

The medic said the incident in the western Iraqi town of Hamdaniya in April made him "sick to my stomach"....

Military judge Col Steven Folsom sentenced Bacos to 10 years in prison, but reduced the period he will actually serve to one year because of the plea agreement.

Bacos said he was on patrol with the marine squad who were looking for an insurgent - Saleh Gowad - who had been captured three times but released.

Bacos said the marines were angry the insurgent had been freed and, frustrated at not finding him, instead seized civilian Hashim Awad from his home.

The medic said Mr Awad, 52, was put in a hole.

He testified: "I knew that we were doing something wrong. I tried saying something, sir."

But he said a marine told him to "quit being a pussy".

Bacos said squad leader Sgt Lawrence Hutchins III then fired three shots into Mr Awad's head followed by at least seven more rounds to the head from Cpl Trent Thomas.

'Scene staged'

Bacos said Sgt Hutchins called command for permission to fire on a man he had seen digging a hole.

Prosecutors say an AK-47 assault rifle, bullets and a shovel were placed next to Mr Awad's body to make it appear as if he were trying to plant a roadside bomb.

He said he saw Pennington put Awad's fingerprints on the AK-47 and a shovel to make it look like the Marines had caught the man digging a hole in which he was going to place a roadside bomb.

Speaking of why he had not chosen to walk away from the incident, Bacos said "I wanted to be part of the team. I wanted to be loyal".

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