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THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ

More SEALs Charged in Prison Abuse

September 25, 2004|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — Three more members of an elite Navy SEAL unit have been charged with abusing Iraqi prisoners, one of whom died in custody after he was beaten, the Naval Special Warfare Command said Friday.

The command, based in San Diego, reported this month that four members of the commando unit would face military criminal charges.

The case is the first criminal charges against Navy personnel in a prisoner abuse scandal that erupted when photos of U.S. troops physically abusing and sexually humiliating Iraqi prisoners surfaced in April.

The Navy did not identify the seven but said the charges announced Friday included aggravated assault with intent to cause death and serious bodily harm, assault with a dangerous weapon, maltreatment of detainees, obstruction of justice and failure to report abuse.

"I can't get into details because we have an ongoing investigation," said one U.S. official, who asked not to be identified. "One detainee apparently died as a result of things that should not have been done."

The Navy did not say how many counts were brought against each of the seven or how many detainees the SEALs were accused of abusing.

Navy officials said at least some of the charges were connected with the case of an Iraqi prisoner who was captured by SEALs in November and later died at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

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