The Killing of Abdal

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[CPT worker David Milne recorded this testimony from a meeting with an eyewitness and the family at a local Iraqi human rights organization in October 2003].

Abdal was driving his car, a white Peugeot, at 8 p.m. on July 13. He came upon an U.S. patrol at a checkpoint on Canal Street near the Industry Sport Club in the Thawra City area of Baghdad.

He was driving too fast and couldn’t stop. The soldiers shot into the car more than seventy times, killing him and destroying the car. The soldiers claimed that he was shooting at them but a search revealed no weapons. Abdal was taken to Austmiya hospital (run by the U.S. military), where he died. The body was taken to the police station in the Al Jadida area of Baghdad without ID. The U.S. soldiers had kept it.

The family was sent to the station but police had already sent the body to a morgue where it stayed for ten days. A sympathetic Iraqi took a photo and arranged to have the anonymous body buried in Najef. The family searched all over the country and inquired at many social agencies and a CMOC (U.S. military Civil Operations Center) but learned what had happened to Abdal only two days before their meeting with CPT.

The interpreter who was working for the U.S. patrol witnessed the event and quit soon after because he was outraged that the U.S. captain kicked the body with her boot. The interpreter recorded the names of the U.S. soldiers involved and provided the information to human rights organizations.

The family wants the soldiers put on trial and compensation for the man’s wife and five children. A doctor in the family has access to the medical reports from the U.S. hospital. This doctor treated Jessica Lynch and this incident has outraged him.

Soldiers are from the 14th Division, War Eagle camp in Rashad City, Baghdad. Their names are: Captain Heed (female); Lieutenant Pestoin; Sgt. Tee; Soldier Tyler; Soldier Johnson. All Humvees were “50 track” and had #21 on the doors.

Questions relevant for Public Policy and Discussion:

1. Do the the military rules of engagement allow for, or even encourage displays of this kind of power? Has the occupation forces carried out an investigation?

2. Will there be an investigation? When?

3. Will there be compensation for the family?

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