Release Capt. Rogelio Maynulet
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A U.S. Army tank company commander accused of killing a critically injured driver for radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq will be court-martialed, an Army spokesman said Tuesday.
The American told a fellow officer he killed the Iraqi out of compassion, according to testimony.
Capt. Rogelio Maynulet , 29, of Chicago, was ordered court-martialed following an Article 32 hearing, the military's equivalent of a civilian grand jury investigation, division spokesman Maj. Michael Indovina said.
The order to court-martial Maynulet came Monday from 1st Armored Division commander Maj. Gen. Martin Dempsey.
It was not clear when the court-martial would start, but in the meantime,
Maynulet will continue to serve on the division's planning staff, where he was assigned after his command was suspended May 25, Indovina said
He will be tried on charges of assault with intent to commit murder and dereliction of duty under articles in the Uniform Code of Military Justice that leave punishment up to the discretion of that court.
Maynulet had been charged with murder following the May 21 incident near Kufa in Iraq and it was not clear whether the Article 32 hearing officer recommended the lesser charges for court-martial, or if that was Dempsey's decision.
Maynulet's defense attorney, Capt. Will Helixon could not be reached for comment.
The incident occurred when Maynulet was leading his tank company on a patrol. They came across a BMW sedan believed to be carrying a driver for al-Sadr and another militiaman loyal to the cleric, whose supporters rose up against U.S. forces twice this year.
U.S. soldiers chased the vehicle and fired shots at it, wounding both the driver and passenger.
When a medic pulled the driver out of the car it was clear he had suffered critical injuries, with part of his skull blown away, according to testimony during the Article 32 hearing.
Maynulet's fellow officer, 1st Lt. Colin Cremin, testified that Maynulet told him he then shot the Iraqi in the base of the neck or the back of the head.
"It was something he didn't want to do, but it was the compassionate response," Cremin testified. "It was definitely the humane response."
The killing was caught on video by a U.S. drone surveillance aircraft, and the footage was played back during the Article 32 hearings after the public and reporters were removed from the courtroom.
Hearing officer Maj. Michael J. Fadden said the footage was being kept classified because it could reveal the Army's capabilities in Iraq.
No venue has been chosen for the court-martial. The Article 32 hearings were held in Hanau, near Frankfurt.
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Once again the person sitting in a chair, watching a drone video, is making a decision that will affect a combat Soldier for the rest of his life. Murder in a combat zone? This has to stop. Who has taken this Soldiers position on the front lines? Who has taken the position of the other 100's of soldiers taken off the battlefield awaiting criminal charges? Isn't the 1,250+ dead troops and 9,000+ wounded troops enough? Do you also have to throw 100's of them in jail for the rest of their lives for killing the enemy? This Soldier must be returned to his unit immediately. We do not need 150,000 troops in Iraq that are afraid to pull the triggers of their weapons. We demand that you start taking the word of the troops on the ground that are actually doing the fighting. These men have multiple witnesses that say the troops accused, did the right thing no matter what your drone video says. In some cases it is even Iraqi's that have said that our troops did the right thing, and they are still charged with murder. This must stop now. Americans will not continue to VOLUNTEER to fight in a war where they could be thrown in prison for the rest of their lives for killing OUR enemy. Actions taken against our volunteer fighting forces, like this, will be the reason why the draft will have to be reinstated. You must take action immediately to stop the senseless prosecution of our fighting forces. When you have to open the draft again (so that the military brass will have more fighting forces to prosecute) this situation will get much worse. It must stop now.
Stop the senseless prosecution of American forces fighting terrorism. We want these Soldiers to be tried by Soldiers in their unit ONLY. They are the only ones who can really know what is going on. We don't want them tried by an officer in Washington, or by a predator drone. We want the media to have to show their footage to military commanders before they release it to the world. If this footage could cause harm to our fighting forces it should not be released ever. This footage is used to recruit other terrorists to fight and kill our soldiers. Americans understand that war is not pretty and we don't want to see everything that goes on in combat, and we don't want the rest of the world to see it either.
WHO WE NEED TO INFLUENCE:
We need to influence Congress. As much as Americans would like to think that the military takes care of it's own, military commanders do what Congress tells them to do. We need to cut out the "middle man", and make Congress take steps to protect our soldiers from military brass that are looking for a promotion, or trying to be seen as a team player.
Please contact your members of Congress with the link below
After you have signed the petition, please take a moment to send an email to your members of Congress. It will only take a moment to send them an email, and they will read it. The more email they get, the more likely they will be to do something about the horrible injustice that is happening to our soldiers. When you send them an email, please put your comments, and then paste this at the bottom of your email.
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Please read the following petition.
HOW LONG WILL WE CAMPAIGN:
We will campaign until our troops come home. This petition will continue to circulate and receive signatures until something is done about this problem that our combat troops are facing.
WHO TO CONTACT:
If you have questions or comments about the petition please direct them to this website www.defendourtroops.com . There are many people in the group that can answer your questions. You can also find out other ways you can help Defend our Troops. There are military moms, spouses, prior service, and active duty military inside.
You can contact me by email [email protected]