Page last updated at 21:28 GMT, Friday, 4 September 2009 22:28 UK

Life for US soldier's Iraq crimes

Steven Green on 4 September in Kentucky
Steven Green was considered the ringleader in the rape and murders

A former US soldier convicted of rape and murder while serving in Iraq will spend life in prison, a judge in the US state of Kentucky has confirmed.

Steven Green, 24, is to serve five consecutive life sentences for raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and killing her and her family near Baghdad in 2006.

Green was convicted in May but the jury could not unanimously agree a sentence and he was spared the death penalty.

Four other soldiers are serving time for their roles in the crime.

Three received life sentences, while the fourth was jailed for 27 months for acting as a lookout. Green was considered the ringleader.

International outrage

District Judge Thomas Russell on Friday confirmed that Green would have no chance of parole.

In 2006 Green and three other soldiers entered the home of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi near Mahmudiya, 30km (20 miles) south of Baghdad.

Steven Green on operations in Iraq in 2005
Steven Green on operations in Mullah Fayed, Iraq, in December 2005

They shot dead her mother, father and sister, then raped Abeer before shooting her and setting fire to her remains.

The crime was planned while Green and the other soldiers drank and played card games at a traffic checkpoint where they were stationed.

The court heard that Green was seen by army mental health professionals after he had talked about a desire to kill Iraqi civilians.

He was sent back to his unit with medication to help him sleep after a nurse concluded he would not act out his thoughts.

The defence argued there was a lack of military leadership in the 101st Airborne Division.

The BBC's Imtiaz Tyab in Washington says that when details of the killings were revealed months after they took place, they sparked international outrage and led to the retaliatory killing of several US soldiers by Iraqi insurgents.

Green was discharged from the 101st Airborne before the case came to light.

He was the first ex-soldier to be charged under a US law that allows prosecution for crimes committed overseas.

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