U.S. soldiers convicted in death of Iraqi

THE BALTIMORE SUN

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Two U.S. soldiers were convicted yesterday on court-martial charges related to the shooting death of a 28-year-old Iraqi woman who was working with them as an interpreter.

The soldiers, Spc. Charley Hooser and Spc. Rami Dajani, were both convicted of making a false official statement to investigators after the killing of the translator, Luma, a mother of one daughter. The court requested that the victim's last name be withheld for her family's safety.

Hooser was also convicted of involuntary manslaughter, while Dajani was convicted of accessory after the fact.

Hooser was sentenced to three years in jail, reduction to the lowest enlisted Army rank, and forfeiture of pay to his wife after six months. He also received a bad-conduct discharge. Dajani received 18 months in jail, reduction to the lowest rank, and a bad-conduct discharge.

The incident happened at a U.S. base in Baghdad on Nov. 24, 2004, when Luma and the two men were in a room where they worked.

The soldiers testified that the three had been teasing one another about shooting someone.

Dajani then handed Hooser a 9 mm pistol from a cabinet in the room, Hooser testified. He said he thought he had heard Dajani clear the weapon of ammunition, so he did not check it.

He said he then pointed the pistol at Luma's head, thinking it was empty, and pulled the trigger, killing her. "She was slumped over," he said.

The two men lied to investigators for 15 days, saying that Luma had shot herself.

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