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U.S. discharges soldiers for abuse of Iraqi prisoners

From Barbara Starr
CNN Washington Bureau

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U.S. Army

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Three American soldiers have been discharged from military service for abusing Iraqi prisoners, the U.S. Army said Monday.

The soldiers had been facing a court-martial proceeding, but agreed instead to a nonjudicial one. In addition to the discharges, two soldiers had their ranks lowered, and all three were ordered to forfeit pay for two months.

The soldiers were military police in a unit from Pennsylvania deployed a southern Iraq camp when the abuse occurred May 12, according to the Army. An investigation began after other soldiers saw and reported the incident.

Master Sgt. Lisa Girman was found guilty of dereliction of duty for failing to safeguard an Iraqi detainee in her control, the Army said.

Girman also was found guilty of maltreatment of an Iraqi detainee by knocking him to the ground and repeatedly kicking him in the groin, abdomen and head while encouraging subordinates to do the same.

Staff Sgt. Scott McKenzie was found guilty of dereliction of duty for failing to safeguard Iraqi detainees from assault and abuse, the Army said.

McKenzie was also convicted of maltreatment of an Iraqi detainee by dragging him by his armpits across the ground, maltreatment of an Iraqi detainee by throwing him to the ground on his face and stepping on his previously injured arm, and making false statements to investigators. McKenzie was demoted to sergeant.

Spc. Timothy Canjar was found guilty of dereliction of duty for failing to safeguard Iraqis under his control, according to the Army.

He also was convicted of maltreatment of an Iraqi detainee by holding his legs apart while kicking him in the groin and maltreatment of an Iraqi detainee by violently twisting his previously injured arm and causing him to scream in pain. Canjar was demoted to private.

Allegations of mistreatment of prisoners of war were also leveled at a high-profile British army officer during the war, but the Ministry of Defense later cleared him.

The ministry ordered an investigation into Col. Tim Collins, the former commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment, following a U.S. major's allegations of abuse of captured Iraqis.

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