Marines Press Charges Against 8 Over the Death of an Iraqi Prisoner.

The Marine Corps has charged eight Marine reservists in the death of an Iraqi prisoner near Nasiriya last June, Marine spokesmen and the lawyer for one of the accused said Saturday. Marine spokesmen at Camp Pendleton, Calif., said that two of eight men faced charges of negligent homicide, while others faced lesser charges, including dereliction of duty, maltreatment and assault. But the spokesmen released few details, and the lawyer for one of the accused, who provided a copy of the charge sheet against his client, noted that some of the charges in that case involved striking prisoners other than the prisoner who died in custody. Other charges involved failure to prevent harsh treatment of prisoners by other guards.

Marine Corps spokesmen confirmed the charges on Saturday, a day after the case was disclosed by the lawyer, Donald Rehkopf of Rochester, a military law specialist.

The death of the Iraqi prisoner had been confirmed previously by the military.

Mr. Rehkopf said that the accused marines were not in custody, and that they would be subject to a military judicial hearing to see whether they should be court-martialed or otherwise punished.

Those charged include Maj. Clark A. Paulus and Lance Cpl. Christian Hernandez, charged with negligent homicide and other offenses, and Maj. William Vickers, Sgt. Gary Pittman, Lance Cpl. William Roy, Sgt. Albert Rodriguez-Martinez, Lance Cpl. Andrew Rodney and Lance Cpl. Konstantin Mikholap, all charged with lesser offenses.

Mr. Rehkopf said he thought the reservists had not been properly trained in handling prisoners. He said that he had not been told about the evidence in the case, like an autopsy or other information about what caused the prisoner's death, but that his client, Corporal Roy, denied the charges.

[Source: The New York Times, NY, 19Oct03]

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