View Full Version : Three U.S. soldiers discharged for abusing Iraqi prisoners

06 Jan 04,, 02:45
Three U.S. soldiers discharged for abusing Iraqi prisoners

The Army discharged three soldiers for abusing prisoners at a detention center in Iraq, a military spokesman said Monday.
The three soldiers, all from Pennsylvania, were scheduled to face courts-martial this month, but opted instead to submit to a nonjudicial hearing, in which their conduct was judged by a commander without a jury, said Lt. Col. Vic Harris. Such hearings are common practice, he said.

Brig. Gen. Ennis Whitehead III, acting commander of the 143rd Transportation Command, found the three soldiers had maltreated prisoners at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq on May 12. He demoted two of the soldiers and ordered that all three forfeit their salaries for two months.

The general found that Master Sgt. Lisa Marie Girman, 35, of Hazelton, Pa., knocked a prisoner to the ground, “repeatedly kicking him in the groin, abdomen and head, and encouraging her subordinate soldiers to do the same,” Harris said.

Girman received an “other-than-honorable conditions” discharge .

Staff Sgt. Scott A. McKenzie, 38, of Clearfield, Pa., was found to have dragged a prisoner by his shoulders and then to have held his legs apart, “encouraging others to kick him in the groin while other U.S. soldiers kicked him in the abdomen and head,” Harris said.

McKenzie also was found to have thrown the detainee face-down to the ground and to have stepped on “his previously injured arm.”

The general determined that McKenzie made “a false sworn statement to a special agent of the Army Criminal Investigation Division.” McKenzie was demoted to sergeant and later received a “general, under honorable conditions” discharge.

Spc. Timothy F. Canjar, 21, of Moscow, Pa., was found to have made a false statement to criminal investigators and to have held a detainee’s legs apart “while others kicked him in the groin,” in addition to “violently twisting his previously injured arm and causing him to scream in pain.”

Canjar was demoted to private — a rank two lower than specialist — and received a “general, under honorable conditions” discharge from his commander, Harris said.

The findings were handed down at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, on Dec. 29. The three soldiers have since returned to the United States.

A fourth soldier was charged in the same case, but Sgt. Shawna Edmondson, 24, requested and received an “other-than-honorable” discharge from the military last year rather than face a court-martial.

Two of the soldiers’ parents said their children visited them New Year’s Eve before returning to Fort Dix, N.J., for out-processing, and that they were in low spirits. “My Lisa kept a smile on her face for the family, but you could tell something was wrong,” said Carole Graff, Girman’s mother. Girman is a Pennsylvania State Police trooper who has a lot of experience arresting people and would know better than to maltreat a prisoner, Graff told Army Times.

Graff and other parents have said the four were “abused” by being kept away from other soldiers, cursed at and not allowed to talk to anyone. Girman, her mother said, was “mentally abused.”

James Canjar said his son, a college student, was treated “unbelievably.”

“He won’t say what’s going on,” Canjar told Army Times. “My son was a happy-go-lucky person, and now I see a tremendous strain. He’s got fear and he just doesn’t trust the military.”

None of the three soldiers was available for comment Monday.