Three U.S. soldiers killed four handcuffed and blindfolded Iraqi prisoners with pistol shots on the bank of a Baghdad canal last year, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
Sergeant First Class Joseph P. Mayo, the platoon sergeant, and Sergeant Michael P. Leahy Jr., Company D’s senior medic and an acting squad leader, made sworn statements in January to Army investigators in Schweinfurt, Germany probing the incident, the newspaper reported on its website.
The men each described killing one of the Iraqi detainees, as directed by First Sergeant John E. Hatley, according to the statements. Hatley shot two other detainees with a pistol in the back of the head, Mayo and Leahy told investigators, according to the NYT.
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U.S. soldiers cannot harm enemy combatants once they are disarmed and in custody, the NYT said.
A spokesman for the U.S. Army in Europe declined to comment, saying he could not speculate on any future legal action.
David Court, the lawyer in Germany named by the NYT as representing Hatley, was not immediately reachable.
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According to Leahy’s statement, cited by the NYT, Army officials directed Hatley’s convoy to release the men because there was insufficient evidence to detain them.