US Seal in the dock for Iraqi death

Court martial proceedings are set to begin against a US Navy Seal officer in connection with the death of an Iraqi prisoner in custody.

    The Iraqi was arrested after a deadly blast at the ICRC offices

    In November 2003, US Navy Seals went after Iraqi Manadil al-Jamadi, a suspect in the bombing of Red Cross offices in Iraq that killed 12.

     

    The CIA apparently believed he knew the location of a cache of explosives.

     

    On the night of 4 November, the Seals burst into al-Jamadi's apartment outside Baghdad, subdued him after a struggle and whisked him back to their base.

     

    Mistreatment

     

    En route, they allegedly kicked and punched him and struck him with

    their rifles. They also posed for photos with the hooded and handcuffed prisoner.

     

    Twelve people died in the

    bombing
    of Red Cross offices in Iraq

    The Seals turned al-Jamadi over to the CIA. A few hours later, he was dead.

     

    Court martial proceedings were set to begin on Monday in California's San Diego against an unidentified Seal lieutenant accused of punching the detainee in the arm and allowing his men to abuse the prisoner.

     

    The lieutenant faces charges of assault, dereliction of duty and conduct unbecoming an officer.

     

    The Navy is taking extraordinary precautions to protect the identity of its "terrorist-hunting" Seals, members of an elite force named for Sea, Air, Land.

     

    Unprecedented

     

    The lieutenant will be referred to only by the first letter of his last name, as will all Seal personnel in the courtroom - a step experts on military law say is virtually unprecedented.

     

    The CIA may be to blame for the
    death, say official documents

    The Seals acted as the CIA's warrant squad on dangerous "capture or kill" missions in Iraq, bursting into homes in the middle of the night and carting off suspects.

     

    Documents obtained by AP suggest that CIA personnel - not the Seals - may be to blame for the prisoner's death.

     

    When he died at Abu Ghraib prison, al-Jamadi was suspended by the wrists, which were handcuffed behind his back - a position that has been condemned by human rights groups as torture, according to investigative files from the US Army and the CIA's Office of Inspector-General.

     

    Nine Seals and one sailor have been accused of abusing al-Jamadi and others. All but one of the cases has been handled in closed-door proceedings.

     

    Earlier this month, another lieutenant received a career-killing punitive letter of reprimand.

    SOURCE: Unspecified


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