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Two from 101st Airborne arraigned in Iraqi deaths

October 27, 2006|From the Associated Press

FORT CAMPBELL, KY. — Two soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division were arraigned Thursday on murder charges in the death of Iraqi detainees in the spring.

Pfc. Corey R. Clagett and Spc. William B. Hunsaker are accused of killing three Iraqi men detained during a raid on a suspected Al Qaeda stronghold about 60 miles north of Baghdad.

Both declined to enter formal pleas in separate Army hearings, but their civilian attorneys proclaimed their innocence.

Clagett's lawyer, Paul Bergrin, said in a phone interview that the allegations were politically motivated and untrue. "Corey Clagett did nothing but serve his country honorably," he said.

Clagett and Hunsaker, who are accused along with two other soldiers, say their brigade commander and other commanders who oversaw the operation ordered them to kill "all military-aged males."

The military has scheduled courts-martial on Feb. 27 for Clagett and Dec. 4 for Hunsaker.

Hunsaker's defense attorney Michael Waddington said government prosecutors were trying to hide that soldiers were raiding a known and hostile Al Qaeda stronghold.

"That is a big deal, considering the mind-set of a young 21-year-old guy," Waddington said

Four other soldiers and a former Army private from the division's 2nd Brigade are accused of raping an Iraqi girl and murdering her and three others in her family. All are expected to be arraigned in the coming week.

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