Marines Staged Mock
Executions Of Juveniles

By Will Dunham
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- U.S. Marines fired a pistol in a mock execution involving four young Iraqi looters and shocked another Iraqi detainee with an electric transformer until he "danced," a document made public on Tuesday showed.
The June 16 U.S. Navy document detailed 10 "substantiated" incidents of detainee abuse in Iraq involving 24 Marines dating back to May 2003. The Marine Corps said 13 Marines were convicted in courts-martial stemming from the incidents, getting prison sentences of up to 15 months.
The document was written seven weeks after pictures of U.S. Army soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail became public, triggering worldwide condemnation.
It was one of numerous Navy documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union, which obtained them under the Freedom of Information Act. In a June 14 e-mail, a Navy criminal investigator wrote that his Iraq "caseload is exploding, high visibility cases are on the rise."
"The Defense Department has insisted from the outset that abuse, to the extent that it occurs at all, is aberrational," said Jameel Jaffer, an ACLU lawyer. "I think we now have overwhelming evidence that that's not true, but that abuse was widespread and that it was systemic in the sense that it was the result of policies adopted by the Defense Department."
Air Force Lt. Col. John Skinner, a Pentagon spokesman, said, "We've never denied that misconduct sometimes occurs. But in all instances, we thoroughly investigate cases to determine the facts and hold responsible individuals accountable."
The June 16 document listed a series of previously unknown incidents of detainee abuse by Marines, as well as 10 cases that Navy investigators, who handle cases involving Marines, examined as possible abuse but deemed "unsubstantiated."
It described an April 2004 incident at Al Mahmudiya in which Marines shocked an Iraqi detainee with an electric transformer, placing live electrical wires on the detainee's shoulder, noting that "the detainee 'danced' as he was shocked."'
The Marine Corps said four Marines were convicted of charges including assault, cruelty, maltreatment, and making a false official statement, with prison sentences ranging from 60 days to 15 months. A fifth Marine was given administrative punishment.
The document described incidents in June and July 2003 in Adiwaniyah. It stated that Marines "ordered 4 juvenile Iraqi looters to kneel beside 2 shallow fighting holes & a pistol was discharged to conduct a mock execution." It did not give the age of the Iraqis. Marines in the case also were accused of locking looters in an abandoned tank and spraying looters with a fire extinguisher.
Three Marines in the incident were convicted on charges including detainee abuse and dereliction of duty, with two being sentenced to 30 days hard labor, and the third getting 14 days of restricted movement, and all being reduced in rank. Charges were withdrawn against a fourth Marine.
In August 2003, a detainee suffered second-degree burns on the back of his hands when a Marine guard at a base at Al Mumudiyah used a match to ignite an alcohol-based hand cleaner that had been squirted on the man's hands, the document stated. The Marine was convicted and given a 90-day sentence.
The names of the Marines involved in the incidents were blacked out of the documents provided to the ACLU, and the Marine Corps said it had only their surnames.
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