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U.S. Soldiers Accused Of Raping Iraqi Women Escape Prosecution

On International Women's Day, Guardian reporter Suzanne Goldenberg broke the story about how soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Brigade accused of rape were able to escape the charges. The soldiers were from the same military unit whose troops fired on the car carrying freed Italian hostage Giuliana Sgrena. 

03/17/05

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Suzanne Goldenberg's article appeared in the Guardian newspaper. It began: "Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Brigade -- the same military unit whose troops fired on the car carrying freed Italian hostage Giuliana Sgrena -- were under investigation last year for raping Iraqi women, U.S. Army documents reveal. Four soldiers were alleged to have raped two women while on guard duty in a Baghdad shopping precinct. A U.S. Army investigator interviewed several soldiers from the military unit, the 1-15th battalion of the 3rd Infantry Brigade, but did not locate or interview the Iraqi women involved before shutting down the inquiry for lack of evidence.

"Transcripts of the investigation, obtained by the Guardian from the American Civil Liberties Union, show only the most cursory attempts by the investigator to establish whether the women were raped. The soldiers claimed the women were prostitutes, or denied any knowledge of anyone in their unit having sex while deployed in Iraq. The statements went largely unchallenged. "I know the women were Iraqi. I however don't know if they were raped, or were prostitutes, or just wanted sex," one soldier told investigators.

"Jameel Jaffar, an attorney for the ACLU, which has led a long legal struggle to get the Pentagon to release documents of its investigations, argues that the failure to conduct a thorough investigation on such serious charges as rape was part of a disturbing pattern. 'There are always questions in these files about whether the investigator was sufficiently aggressive in pursuing leads and tracking down evidence,' he said."

We are joined by Suzanne Goldenberg in our D.C. studio.

  • Suzanne Goldenberg, U.S. correspondent for the British Guardian newspaper.

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