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Iraqis rage over US rape ruling

IRAQIS expressed shock and disappointment yesterday over an American jury's decision to spare the life of an ex-US soldier convicted of raping and killing an Iraqi girl along with her family, with many calling for him to be retried or face charges in Iraq.

Steven Dale Green, 24, of Midland, Texas, was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Thursday after jurors couldn't agree on a punishment for the March 2006 murders - a case that became a lightning rod for discontent for Iraqis over the occupation.

"We demand this trial be held again and a death penalty issued," said Qais Aboud Ali Khutri al-Janabi, the head of a prominent Sunni clan in Mahmoudiya, where the girl and her family were killed.

Senior Sunni lawmaker Salim Abdullah also said Green should have received the death penalty.

"This soldier was supposed to be tried in Iraq by the Iraqi court because the incident took place in Iraq," Abdullah said.

A jury found Green guilty of raping and killing 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, her parents and her younger sister on March 12, 2006, near Mahmoudiya, about 30 kilometers south of Baghdad.

But jurors said they could not reach a decision over whether to put Green to death, and a judge sentenced him to life in prison without parole.


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