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Last Updated: Monday, 5 January, 2004, 22:42 GMT
Soldiers ejected over Iraq abuses
File photo of Iraqi prisoners of war
Captured Iraqi soldiers were held until the war was deemed over
Three soldiers have been discharged from the US army for mistreating Iraqi prisoners of war.

They were found guilty of beating and harassing detainees at a detention camp in the south of the country.

An internal inquiry found soldiers had thrown prisoners down and kicked them in the head, groin and abdomen in an incident at Camp Bucca last May.

The three soldiers, a woman and two men who said they acted in self-defence, have all returned to the United States.

They had all faced possible courts-martial and could have been sentenced to 25 years in jail for the offences.

Each was allowed instead to opt for a hearing without a jury, which cannot impose prison sentences.

Lies told

The senior officer, Master Sergeant Lisa Marie Girman, 35, knocked a prisoner to the ground, "repeatedly kicking him in the groin, abdomen, and head, and encouraging her subordinate soldiers to do the same", according to military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Vic Harris.

She received what the army calls an "other-than-honourable conditions" discharge from her immediate commander.

Staff Sergeant Scott McKenzie, 38, and Specialist Timothy Canjar, 21, were both found guilty of holding prisoners' legs apart while encouraging others to kick them in the groin.

They both aggravated existing injuries suffered by the detainees and later lied to military investigators, the spokesman said.

Each was demoted and discharged "under honourable conditions".

The BBC's Pentagon correspondent, Nick Childs, says the matter will clearly be an embarrassment to the US army.

He adds that there may also be criticism that harsher punishment was not handed down.

A fourth soldier, Sergeant Shawna Edmondson, 24, had been implicated in the same case.

She requested and received an "other-than-honourable" discharge from the military last year rather than face a court-martial.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Nick Childs
"All are now being discharged from the army"



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