The Iraq Solidarity Campaign | 09.01.2005 19:24 | Repression
upon the people of Iraq.
Please read the article below and write your complaint to Keith Bradley MP, a former Labour government cabinet member who opposed the war and supported Anne Clwyd with the Campaign Against Repression and for Democratic Rights in Iraq (CARDRI).
He can be contacted on the e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Soldier Gets Six Months in Iraqi Drowning
Sun Jan 9, 9:22 AM ET
By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press Writer
FORT HOOD, Texas - An Army platoon sergeant who ordered his soldiers to
throw Iraqis into the Tigris River was sentenced Saturday to six months
in military prison, but will not be discharged.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Perkins was convicted Friday of two counts of
aggravated assault, assault consummated by battery and obstruction of
justice. He was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter and making a false
He did not testify during his trial, but before he was sentenced
Saturday told the jury of Army officers and enlisted members that his actions
were wrong — although he did not apologize to the Iraqis. He said he
still loved the military and did not want to lose his job.
"If I had to go back, I would definitely do something different on
those days," Perkins said, wiping away tears.
Perkins, 33, and another soldier were accused of ordering soldiers to
push two Iraqis into the river in Samarra in January 2004. Prosecutors
say Zaidoun Hassoun, 19, drowned and his cousin, Marwan Hassoun, climbed
out the river.
Defense attorneys contended Zaidoun may still be alive, but say if he
is dead it was not at the hands of U.S. soldiers.
The six-man military jury — which decided against the manslaughter
conviction — also reduced Perkins' rank by one grade to staff sergeant,
which cuts his pay and responsibilities.
Jurors considered a sentencing range of no punishment to a dishonorable
discharge, rank reduction and 11 1/2 years in prison. Prosecutors had
recommended five years in prison and a dishonorable or bad conduct
Perkins was taken to the Bell County Jail because Ford Hood has no
jail. It could take up to a week to determine where he will serve his
Prosecutors and defense attorneys declined to comment after the
Before deliberations began, the prosecutor, Capt. Megan Shaw, said
Perkins had jeopardized the U.S. mission because insurgents were using the
incidents to spread anti-American propaganda.
The defense attorney, Capt. Tom Hurley, urged the jurors to consider
Perkins' numerous military awards.
Marwan Hassoun testified that he tried to save his cousin by grabbing
his hand, but the powerful current swept Zaidoun away. Marwan said the
body was found in the river nearly two weeks later.
Perkins did not discuss specifics of the incident on the stand Saturday, but admitted he had ordered his soldiers to throw an Iraqi man into the river in December 2003.
Perkins said the man had made a gesture of slitting his throat. He said
he never meant to injure or kill the Iraqi by throwing him in the
river; and he ordered him thrown in the river to teach him a "hard lesson"
about threatening U.S. troops. He testified he saw the man climb out
"Basically the enemy would test your resolve. ... I didn't want them to
think we were soft or weak," said Perkins, who has 14 years of military
Perkins was convicted of assault consummated by battery in Zaidoun's
purported death, which carries a maximum sentence of six months. He was
convicted of aggravated assault in connection with the attack on Marwan
Hassoun and for ordering the other man thrown into the river in
December 2003. He was found innocent of making a false statement.
No soldiers disputed that the Hassoun cousins were forced into the
river. But soldiers testifying for the prosecution and defense said they
never heard Perkins order the Iraqis into the river and that he stayed in
his vehicle that night.
The soldiers said the orders came from Army 1st Lt. Jack Saville, the
platoon leader, who is to be tried in March on the same charges as
Perkins — as well as a conspiracy charge. His trial was postponed until
March after a judge ordered the victim's body to be exhumed for an autopsy
Several of Perkins' commanding officers testified Saturday that Perkins
was an outstanding soldier who tried to find non-lethal ways to deal
with defiant Iraqis in the increasingly dangerous region.
"I will always consider him a war hero. ... No one can ever take away
his outstanding service over there," said Lt. Col. Nathan Sassaman.
Perkins and Saville are part of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team out of Fort
Carson, Colo., which is part of the 4th Infantry Division based at Fort