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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US Soldier Convicted in Death of Iraqi General

22 January 2006

A U.S. Army interrogator has been convicted of causing the death of an Iraqi general during a round of questioning more than two years ago.

However, a court-martial jury of six officers decided the officer was not guilty of murder, a charge that could have sent him to prison for life.

The military court found Lewis Welshofer Junior guilty of negligent homicide, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of three years' imprisonment.

Welshofer, an interrogation specialist who held the rank of Chief Warrant Officer, was accused of putting a sleeping bag over the head of the Iraqi general, sitting on his chest and covering his mouth. The victim, Major General Abed Hamed Mowhoush, died following the questioning in November 2003.

The jury reported its verdict late Saturday after six hours of deliberations in Fort Carson, Colorado.

Welshofer's lawyer said the soldier was simply trying to extract information from the general, who headed the insurgency in western Iraq. Prosecutors said Welshofer knew he had a duty to treat the general humanely.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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