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GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Four Germany-based soldiers charged with conspiracy to commit premeditated murder in Iraq allegedly took male detainees to a canal and shot them, according to details released by the Army on Tuesday.

An Article 32 hearing for Staff Sgt. Jess Cunningham, Sgt. Charles Quigley, Spc. Stephen Ribordy and Spc. Belmor Ramos is set for Aug. 26 in Vilseck, a Joint Multinational Training Command news release said.

The alleged incident took place while the soldiers — who were part of the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd "Dagger" Brigade — were near Baghdad between March 10 and April 16, 2007, according to charge specifications released by the Army.

In brief documents attached to the news release, the military said the soldiers are accused of shooting detainees on the battlefield. The Army has not said how many men were killed but did say in January that more than one detainee died.

The soldiers are charged under Article 81 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is conspiracy.

The charges in Cunningham’s case, for example, specify: "Premeditated Murder of male detainees of apparent Middle-Eastern descent whose names are unknown, and in order to effect the object of the conspiracy … SSG Jess C. Cunningham and members of his unit took the male detainees to a canal and members of his unit did shoot the male detainees with firearms."

In the specifications released Tuesday, the same wording is used for each of the other three accused soldiers, with only the names changed.

The soldiers are now assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade.

The 2nd Brigade reflagged as the 172nd in March.

They are not in pre-trial confinement, said Denver Mackle, a JMTC spokeswoman.

Capt. Samuel Gregory, who represents Quigley, would not comment about the case. The names of attorneys representing the other soldiers have not been released.

The incident was first announced in a news release posted on the Army’s official Web site in January.

That release said Army officials in Europe were "cooperating fully with a U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command investigation" into the deaths of "several" detainees captured by the 2nd Brigade in 2007.

"Preliminary findings indicate the deceased detainees were not persons detained in a detention facility," the Army’s January release read, indicating the people were killed on the battlefield and not taken for processing at a detention facility.

Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon, told Stars and Stripes in January that CID investigators believe "more than one individual appears to have knowledge" of the alleged deaths.

At that time, Army investigators were trying to determine "the extent of the time period involved, who else may be involved and know of the incident, and the scope and extent of the situation," Boyce said.

Most soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, known as the "Dagger Brigade," returned home in November from a 15-month tour in Iraq, where the unit suffered the loss of 59 men, mostly in fighting in Baghdad. The unit is credited with greatly reducing violence in parts of that city and for building on successes in Ramadi.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing, Mackle said.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.
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