Four American soldiers serving in Iraq have been charged with abuse of Iraqi prisoners of war (POW) and are awaiting a decision on whether they will face a court-martial, a defense official said Saturday.
The charges mark the first time US personnel have been formally accused of mistreating Iraqi prisoners since the onset of the US-led invasion of Iraq in March, the official said.
The names of the soldiers have not been released, but they are reported to belong to a military police unit that helped guard prisoners at Camp Bucca, near the Iraqi city of Umm Qasr, last May.
"They have been charged with Article 32, which is basically like a grand jury in civilian terms, based on an investigation into allegations of mistreatment of POWs," Lieutenant Commander Nick Balice, a spokesman for the US Central Command, told AFP.
The charges are based on an incident that took place at the POW camp on May 12.
Meanwhile, other sources indicated the soldiers, two of whom are said to be women, are alleged to have used unwarranted physical force against the prisoners. (Albawaba.com)