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US soldier guilty of Iraq murder

US soldiers on patrol in Mosul, Iraq (file image)
There have been a number of abuse allegations against US troops in Iraq

An American military jury has found a US army officer guilty of the murder of an Iraqi detainee.

The jury in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, also convicted 1st Lt Michael Behenna of assaulting Ali Mansour Mohammed near Baiji, north of Baghdad, last May.

Behenna had argued that he was defending himself when he fatally shot Mr Mohammed during an interrogation.

He was found not guilty of the more serious offence of premeditated murder, the Associated Press reported.

The defence argued that Behenna had only intended to interrogate Mr Mohammed about a roadside bomb which had killed two members of his platoon.

Defence attorney Jack Zimmerman said Behenna was suffering from acute stress disorder at the time, and had acted in self defence when Mr Mohammed had reached for a gun.

But US military prosecutor Capt Jason Elbert said it was clear from Behenna's behaviour at the time and threats he made that he had intended to kill the detainee.

He said Behenna had "controlled the whole situation as an officer of the US Army, armed and protected and under no threat".

Last week another US soldier, Sgt Michael Leahy Jr, was found guilty of the murder of four Iraqi detainees who were shot and their bodies dumped in a canal.

The US has about 142,000 military personnel stationed in Iraq, but President Barack Obama has said that most troops will be withdrawn by August 2010.

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