"Dedicated to exposing the lies and impeachable offenses of George W. Bush"

US army officer convicted for former Iraqi general's death
January 22, 2006

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 (Xinhuanet) -- A low-ranking U.S. army officer was found guilty of negligent homicide, but not guilty on the more serious charge of murder of an Iraqi general during an interrogation in 2003, local media reported on Sunday.After 6-1/2 hours of deliberation until late Saturday night, a military jury of six U.S. army officers convicted Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer Jr. in charges resulting from the suffocation death of former Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush.Welshofer is the highest-ranking U.S. army officer charged with killing a detainee in Iraq.

According to court papers, Mowhoush, a formal aide to former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, was placed head-first in a sleeping bag as Welshofer covered his mouth and sat on his chest during a fatal interrogation in November 2003.

Prosecutors accused Welshofer of using harsh techniques to try to get information of Saddam from Mowhoush, describing them as "torture."

However, the military jury only convicted Welshofer of negligent homicide, a minor charge that carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison.

The jury also found Welshofer guilty of negligent dereliction of duty, a conviction that could bring another three months in prison. He also faces dishonorable discharge.

U.S. human rights groups said the trial was shocking, not only because of what Welshofer did, but also what the U.S. military authorized to treat the detainees.

The U.S. military has so far conducted some 400 investigations into the cases of prisoner abuses, but most of the U.S. military personnel found guilty or punished in those cases were soldiers.Welshofer is the highest-ranking U.S. army officer charged with killing a detainee in Iraq so far.

The US military is the most "soft on crime" organization in the US.