Posted on Tue, Jul. 04, 2006
Report: Rape victim was afraid of U.S. soldiers
Troops allegedly made advances against her
The young woman at the heart of an alleged atrocity by members of the U.S. military knew she had attracted the attention of the soldiers who manned the checkpoint near her home, neighbors say. And she didn't like it.
Neither did her family, and they made a plan to protect her, their neighbors told reporters over the weekend.
But it wasn't enough.
Abeer Qasim Hamza is the young woman identified in news reports as the alleged target of Steven D. Green, the former Army private who was charged Monday with her rape and the killing of her and three other family members in March.
A U.S. military official has described the attack on the family's home south of Baghdad as "totally premeditated," telling The Associated Press that the soldiers apparently "studied" the family for about a week before carrying out the raid.
The affidavit detailing the allegations against Green doesn't name his alleged victims, but it says the woman he's accused of raping was estimated by her attackers to be about 25.
People in her town, including the mayor of Mahmoudiya, tell reporters she was actually a teenager. A death certificate viewed by The Washington Post puts Abeer at 15.
Whatever her age, she was described as pretty by the townspeople, according to the Post. And she knew she had attracted the notice of the soldiers. She had to pass through their traffic checkpoint, about 200 yards from her home, almost every day.
Abeer's mother told a neighbor, Omar Janabi, that the soldiers had made advances toward her daughter and that the young woman was scared of them, Janabi told the Post.
The mother asked Janabi if Abeer could sleep at his house, in case the soldiers came for her at night. Janabi said yes, but he told the mother that her fears were unfounded. "I told her the Americans would not do such a thing," Janabi told reporters.
The next day, according to the military, they did.
Army investigators outlined their evidence against Green and several other soldiers to an FBI agent, who described their case in a federal affidavit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Charlotte.
Green and the soldiers at his checkpoint were drinking on the night of March 12, when they decided to raid the young woman's house and rape her, the affidavit says.
Green and at least one other soldier had been there before, the affidavit says. It describes how three of the soldiers changed into dark clothes, armed themselves with rifles and a shotgun, and left one man behind to monitor the radio.
They returned with clothes covered in blood, the soldier left behind told investigators. When he asked what had happened, Green and the others said they had killed the family with an AK-47 they found in the house, the court documents say.
The incident was kept quiet until late last month, when a soldier in a counseling session revealed the details. Investigators interviewed other members of the group, who identified Green and another soldier as the rapists and Green as the triggerman.
Two of the soldiers who were in the house say Green took Abeer's father, mother and little sister into a bedroom and shot them with the AK-47, according to the affidavit, and he and the other soldier then raped Abeer, and Green shot her in the head.
News reports Monday said the family included two sons, ages 8 and 12, who discovered the bodies when they came home from school. They were screaming in the front yard of their house when police arrived.
Janabi, the neighbor, told the Post he was one of the first people at the house after the attack.
He said he'd found Abeer's burned body in a corner.
Soldiers, Civilian Deaths
More than 30 soldiers have been implicated in wrongful deaths of Iraqi civilians. Those incidents include the 2005 deaths of 24 men, women and children in the western town of Haditha and the killing of three detainees in May north Baghdad.