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Iraq PM: Troops Immunity From Punishment Needs Review

Laws that give foreign troops immunity from domestic prosecution should be reviewed because U.S. soldiers sometimes act knowing that they are protected from punishment, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Wednesday.

"Those who are free from being punished misbehave and they have misbehaved a lot. They misbehaved in Mahmoudiya, in Sadr City, in Abu Ghraib and in Haditha," al-Maliki said, referring to places where U.S. troops have been accused of abusing or killing Iraqis.

Al-Maliki was responding to a question by a female legislator about the alleged March 12 rape and killing of an Iraqi woman in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad, by U.S. soldiers who also were accused of killing her family.

CountryWatch: Iraq

"We should speak about the law and ways of protecting citizens from such violations and hostile acts by undisciplined soldiers among the multinational forces," he said.

Al-Maliki said he believes parliament probably will be the place to review "laws that give American and multinational troops immunity from punishment."

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who arrived Wednesday in Iraq, indicated during his flight to the country that he did not expect any imminent change in the legal arrangement under which U.S. troops in Iraq are immune from the country's laws.

U.S. service members still are subject to the military justice system.

A previously discharged soldier and five active service members, including two sergeants, have been charged in the Mahmoudiya case.