[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 11 December, 2004, 10:26 GMT
US soldier jailed for Iraq murder
Map of Baghdad showing location of Sadr City
A US soldier has been jailed for three years in a plea bargain following the murder of a severely wounded 16-year-old Iraqi, the military says.

Staff Sgt Johnny Horne Jr had pleaded guilty to the unpremeditated murder of the civilian youth in Baghdad's Sadr City suburb on 18 August.

He also pleaded guilty to soliciting another soldier to commit murder.

His defence said the death of the injured Iraqi was a "mercy killing" in collusion with another soldier.

The seven-man panel reached a decision on Friday evening after four hours of deliberation.

Horne was also reduced to the rank of private and given a dishonourable discharge.

'Out of his misery'

The charges stem from an incident in Sadr City when coalition forces were locked in fierce fighting with supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr.

The court heard that members of Horne's unit fired on a rubbish truck they suspected of laying roadside bombs.

However, inside the lorry was a crew of teenage boys hoping to make some extra money on a night shift.

The soldiers, including Horne, tried to rescue one of the injured youths, according to witness testimony.

Several witnesses described the injured Iraqi as having severe abdominal wounds and burns. Some thought the casualty was beyond medical help.

Witnesses say Horne shot and killed one of the badly injured boys.

The US soldiers decided that "the best course of action was to put [the Iraqi] out of his misery", the criminal investigator told the court.

Abu Ghraib trials

This is one of about a dozen cases in which American soldiers are facing trial over the killing or abuse of Iraqi civilians.

Lynndie England (centre)
Pte Jeremy Sivits
Sgt Ivan Frederick
Specialist Megan Ambuhl

Facing trial:
Pte Lynndie England
Specialist Charles Graner
Sgt Javal Davies
Specialist Sabrina Harman
Three other soldiers from Horne's regiment, the 41st Infantry, have been charged over killings - Staff Sgt Cardenas J Alban is facing court martial in the same case as Horne, while Sgt Michael Williams and Specialist Brent May attended hearings on another Sadr City killing.

An army captain, Rogelio Maynulet, was ordered earlier this week to face a court martial over the killing of an Iraqi man near the holy city of Najaf in May.

But high-profile cases also include those of several US military police reservists charged with abuse of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail.

The charges came amid international outrage at the publication of photographs showing naked, hooded and bound prisoners being taunted and humiliated.

It was announced on Friday that the trial of one of those charged, Pte Lynndie England, will be moved from North Carolina to Fort Hood, Texas.

The move means that it will held alongside those of three other reservists in January. Three have already received jail sentences.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific