WASHINGTON – Two Army (search) officers staged mock executions of Iraqi prisoners in 2003 and were given career-ending punishments, according to military officials and newly released documents.
Mock executions — in which a prisoner is made to believe his execution is imminent — are expressly prohibited by Army interrogation policy as a form of torture, according to the Army field manual.
The details of the investigations into the two officers were described in documents Tuesday.
In one case, on July 13, 2003, Capt. Shawn L. Martin (search), of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, based in Fort Carson, Colo. (search), took an Iraqi welder out to the desert and had him dig his own grave before staging an attempt to shoot him, according to documents. The captain was looking for information on a bombing two days before.
The welder was released. The captain also captured eight people in the vehicle and at one point fired his gun to make the seven passengers believe he had just killed the driver. He then went to the home of a man whose identity was provided by the driver and threatened to kill him in front of his family.
The documents do not say whether the victims had any connection to the bombing.
Martin was court-martialed, convicted of aggravated assault and battery and sentenced to 45 days confinement and loss of $12,000 in pay, said an Army spokesman, Lt. Col. Jeremy Martin, who is not related to him.
During his court-martial, witnesses said the Army captain ruled like a tyrant over Ar Rutbah, a community of 25,000 in Iraq's western desert. His attorney said that no one was ever harmed by his actions and that Martin did what was necessary to protect his troops. The conviction effectively ends Capt. Martin's career, military officials said.
The other mock execution involved an Army second lieutenant with the 3rd Brigade of 1st Armored Division, based in Fort Riley, Kan., who received administrative punishment and an other-than-honorable discharge from the service, the Army spokesman said.
He said the man's last name was Yancy, but he could not provide his first name.
The documents describe two alleged mock executions involving the lieutenant and a sergeant in June 2003. In at least one of the cases the victim was a looter.
Other alleged abuses described in the documents include:
— Several soldiers who were investigated for a staged photograph with a hooded detainee. There was no evidence the detainee was physically abused, but such photographs are a violation of policy.
— A soldier was investigated for taunting a Muslim detainee with the Jewish Star of David.