Four Germany-based soldiers charged in detainee deaths in Iraq
July 23, 2008
The Army on Monday charged four Germany-based soldiers in the deaths of "several" detainees captured in Iraq in 2007.
Staff Sgt. Jess Cunningham, Sgt. Charles Quigley, Spc. Stephen Ribordy, and Spc. Belmor Ramos were charged with conspiracy to commit premeditated murder under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, according to a news release issued Tuesday by 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command.
The soldiers are members of Company D, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade.
"The charges relate to an incident that occurred during April/May 2007 in Baghdad, Iraq, while the Soldiers were serving in the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry," according to the release.
The battalion was in Iraq with the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, which reflagged in March as the 172nd Infantry.
"The preferral of charges represents an accusation only; the accused are presumed innocent unless proven guilty," the release stated.
Additional details about the circumstances leading to the charges were not available Tuesday, according to Army officials in Grafenwöhr. A charge sheet indicating the specifics of the charges should be available Wednesday, according to an Army spokesman.
The spokesman said the charges are related to a news release posted on the Army’s official Web site in January. That release indicated 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 appear 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.
Boyce indicated more than one detainee died, but did not provide more specifics.
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.