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US soldier gets 100 years in prison for rape, murder of Iraqi girl February 24, 2007

Posted by infidelkafirwatch in Uncategorized.
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Fri Feb 23, 2:56 AM ET

FORT CAMPBELL, United States (AFP) – A US soldier was sentenced Thursday to 100 years in prison for his role in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the slaying of her family.

Sergeant Paul Cortez, 24, admitted he was among five soldiers who plotted the March 2006 rape and murders in Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad, while they were drinking gin and whiskey and playing cards at a traffic checkpoint.

Cortez was in tears as members of his 101st Airborne unit testified on his behalf ahead of sentencing Thursday.

“I’m sorry I let you guys down, you guys treat me better than this,” he said.

He also apologized to his two brothers and parents in the courtroom audience: “I love you guys, I’m sorry for what I did.”

Cortez was convicted of conspiracy to rape, rape, four counts of murder, and other charges including violating a general order by drinking.

Cortez was the second soldier to plead guilty in the high-profile case, one in a series of incidents which have tarnished the reputation of US forces in
Iraq.

The military judge in the court martial here first sentenced him Thursday to life in prison without parole, as well as a dishonorable discharge.

But the judge then acknowledged that, under a plea bargain overseen by the commanding general of the 101st Airborne, Cortez could only be sentenced to 100 years imprisonment, which under military law allows the possibility of parole after 10 years.

Defense lawyer William Cassara called the sentence “an appropriate sanction for what he did.”

The case shocked many by accounts that the soldiers calmly plotted to violate a young girl they had seen walking down the street in the Iraqi village and deliberately tried cover up their crime by killing her family and setting their house alight.

They decided Abeer Kassem Hamza al-Janabi would make a good target for the plan to “have sex with an Iraqi female” because her father was the only man in the house, Cortez told a military court.

In a statement frequently interrupted by tears, Cortez described how a fellow soldier pinned the girl to the ground and held her down while he raped her. Cortez then held al-Janabi down as an accomplice, Specialist James Barker, raped her.

Barker also avoided the death penalty as part of a plea deal last November in which he was sentenced to 90 years in prison and agreed to cooperate with prosecutions of the other soldiers. [read more]

For some this is only fun and games.

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