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Army: Soldiers did mock executions

Newly released documents show Iraqi detainee abuse

From Mike Mount
CNN Washington Bureau

Gallery:  Abuse at Abu Ghraib prison (Contains graphic content. Viewer discretion advised.)

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American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Crime, Law and Justice

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- More than 2,500 pages of documents just released by the Army reveal instances of detainee abuse, including mock executions, by U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

The Army released the documents this week as part of a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU. The same request resulted in the release of several thousand pages of similar documents earlier this year.

"The Army does not tolerate detainee abuse and will continue to aggressively investigate all allegations of abuse and hold individuals accountable when appropriate," an Army spokesman said.

At least three soldiers were investigated and reprimanded for handling detainees outside of authorized military parameters, according to the documents.

In June 2003 an Army second lieutenant from the 1st Armored Division, identified in the redacted documents by the last name Yancey, and an unidentified sergeant were involved in two incidents in Iraq.

Witness statements from his platoon said Yancey took a boy detainee out of a truck and fired his weapon next to the detainee's head.

In Yancey's account to military investigators, he had fired at a pack of threatening wild dogs. But a witness from his platoon said they did not hear any dogs in the area.

Further investigation into the incident found that Yancey enjoyed administering "street justice," according to witnesses who had seen him firing warning shots.

One soldier reported to investigators that Yancey "feels good when he scares people," according to the documents.

Mock executions

In another incident, just two days later, Yancey's platoon found a man and his sons taking metal from an ammunition factory. A sergeant in the platoon detained the bunch and asked the man to choose which son should die.

Witnesses in the platoon said the sergeant took one of the sons around the corner of a building and fired a shot to scare the father into believing his son had been shot.

Army officials were unable to confirm what, if any, punishment was delivered to the unnamed sergeant.

Yancey received an administrative discharge from the Army instead of going through a court-martial, according to Army officials.

In another incident described in the documents, an Army captain carried out a mock execution of a man forced to dig his own grave.

The incident took place near Ramadi, west of Baghdad, in July 2003.

Capt. Shawn L. Martin of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment began looking for suspects after a roadside bomb hit a U.S. patrol earlier in the week, according to the Army documents.

Martin took one suspect to a remote desert location and forced him to dig his own grave, interrogated the man and then ordered soldiers to pretend to shoot him, according to sworn statements in the documents.

Army officials said Martin's action violated regulations of handling detainees. He was convicted, fined $12,000 and sentenced to 45 days in a military prison, said Army officials.

In another incident, in February 2004, a soldier taunted a detainee in Iraq with a Jewish star of David and used gestures that were "disrespectful to Arabs," according to the documents, which gave little other detail.

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