Iraqi minister wants assurances over rape and murder case
Iraq's justice minister demanded Tuesday that the U.N. Security Council makes sure that a group of American soldiers are punished for allegedly raping and murdering a young Iraqi and killing three members of her family, calling the attack "monstrous and inhuman."
Two women legislators also called for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to be summoned to parliament to give assurances the American troops would be punished for the March 12 attack on the family in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad.
The attack was among a series of cases of American soldiers accused of killing and abusing Iraqi civilians. Iraq's largest newspaper, Azzaman, said in an editorial Tuesday the rape "summarizes what has been going in Iraq for the past years not only by the American occupation army, but also by some Iraqi groups."
The newspaper expressed skepticism that the US soldiers would be severely punished. "The U.S. Army will conduct an investigation and the result at best is already known. One or two U.S. soldiers will receive a 'touristic punishment' and the whole crime will be forgotten as it happened with Abu Ghraib criminals," the newspaper added.
According to the AP, former private Steven D. Green appeared in federal court in North Carolina on Monday to face murder and rape charges. At least four other American servicemen still in Iraq are under investigation for the slayings.
"If this act actually happened, it constitutes an ugly and unethical crime, monstrous and inhuman," said Justice Minister Hashim Abdul-Rahman al-Shebli al-Shebli. "The Iraqi judiciary should be informed about this investigation which should be conducted under supervision of international and human organizations. Those involved should face justice."
"The ugliness of this crime demands a swift intervention of the U.N. Security Council to stop these violations of human rights and to condemn them so that they will not happen again," he added.
According to a federal affidavit, Green and three other soldiers talked about raping the young woman, whom they first saw while working at a traffic checkpoint near her home.
On the day of the attack, the document said, Green and other soldiers entered the woman's house. Green took three members of the family into a bedroom. Shots were heard. Green allegedly shot the woman in the head after he and another soldier raped her, the affidavit said.
Iraqi authorities identified the rape victim as Abeer Qassim Hamza. The other victims were her father, Qassim Hamza, her mother, Fikhriya Taha, and her sister, Hadeel Qassim Hamza, 5.
The affidavit estimated the rape victim was about 25. But a doctor at the Mahmoudiya hospital gave her age as 14.