24 January 2006
Defense Department Report, January 24: Interrogator Reprimanded
Welshofer found guilty of negligent homicide in death of an Iraqi officer
A military jury issued Army Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer a reprimand after being found guilty of negligent homicide and dereliction of duty for using an aggressive interrogation technique on an Iraqi general who died while undergoing questioning.
A Fort Carson, Colorado, jury issued Welshofer's sentence January 23. Major General Robert W. Mixon, who commands Fort Carson, will review the sentence, but by military law cannot order a harsher punishment.
Welshofer had the former Iraqi Republican Guard officer -- who already had been beaten repeatedly by Iraqi captors -- bound, gagged and placed inside a sleeping bag before the 19-year Army veteran sat atop the man’s chest.
Welshofer wanted Iraqi Major General Abed Hamed Mowhoush to provide information about Iraqi insurgency operations and possibly concealed weapons of mass destruction.
Mowhoush stopped breathing while Welshofer was sitting on him. Witnesses for the defense said the Iraqi detainee had an irregular heartbeat that contributed to his early demise. The autopsy report said he suffocated.
Welshofer faced a sentence of 39 months in prison for his actions. He was acquitted of murder, a charge that carries a sentence of life in prison if convicted.
He now faces, in addition to the reprimand, forfeiture of $6,000 in military pay and restriction to his barracks for 60 days.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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