Eight soldiers from the US Army's 101st division will be court-martialed for murdering Iraqi civilians, including two who face the death penalty for allegedly raping an Iraqi girl and killing her and her family, the military ordered Wednesday.
Military authorities said they would seek the death penalty against Sgt. Paul E. Cortez and Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman in connection with the March rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi in her family's home in Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Baghdad. The four others face a separate court martial for the alleged murder of three men near Samarra, 60 miles (96 kilometers) north of the Iraqi capital.
The rape-slaying case sparked international outrage and led to a claim by an al-Qaida-linked group that it had killed three other 101st soldiers in retaliation. It also threatened to strain relations between the United States and Iraq's new government if Iraqis perceived soldiers receive lenient treatment.