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Killing of Iraqi Civilians Index

Killings Database – Year 2004

 

 

The Killing of Thaher Khalifa Ahmed

 

Background

Media Reports

Government Reports

Photo Credits

 

Background - Albu Shakur, October 25th, 2004

 

“The three men sat in the courtyard of their house in the village of Albu Shakur, Iraq, their hands fastened behind their backs. An informant had told Sgt. 1st Class Jorge Diaz, a platoon sergeant for Company C of the 1st Infantry Division's 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, that one of these men was the leader of the local insurgency. Diaz became frustrated because he could get no information from the oldest of the three. So he told Sgt. Fernando Alvarez, the squad leader at his side, to stand up the second one, Thaher Khaleefa Ahmed, and get out of the way. Diaz fingered his M4 semi-automatic rifle as Alvarez complied. ‘As I brought the weapon up, my finger automatically went from ‘safe’ to ‘semi,’’ Diaz tearfully told a judge in his court-martial Wednesday. ‘Then I squeezed the trigger.’ Based on his statement, Lt. Col. Robin Hall convicted Diaz of unpremeditated murder, rejecting the claim of his defense attorneys that the shooting on Oct. 25, 2004, was a terrible accident. […]”

 

Excerpt of a Stars and Stripes article from May 19th, 2005.

U.S. Soldiers patrol in Albu Shakur

 

Media Reports

 

December 2nd, 2006 - Shorter Sentences Handed Down in Criminal Cases Arising out of Iraq

2 news articles by the North County Times

 

May 19th, 2005 - 1st ID Soldier Found Guilty in Shooting Death of Iraqi During Interrogation

1 news article by Stars and Stripes

 

 

Government Reports

 

Court-Martial of Jorge L. Diaz

 

August 29th, 2006 - Court-Martial Record - Jorge L. Diaz - Volume 1

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (10,0 MB)

 

August 29th, 2006 - Court-Martial Record - Jorge L. Diaz - Volume 2

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (9,2 MB)

 

August 29th, 2006 - Court-Martial Record - Jorge L. Diaz - Volume 3

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (7,8 MB)

 

“In the United States Army - Fifth Judicial Circuit

 

“United States v. Diaz, Jorge L., SFC, U.S. Army, C. Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry - APO AE 09033

 

“Stipulation of Fact - 28 April 2005

 

“[…] 14. Also, on or about 24 October 2004, the accused went to the house of Thaher Khaleefa Ahmed. Based on the information given by the older Iraqi female the accused ordered his platoon to secure and search the house. The search of the house was negative and no weapons or contraband were obtained except for one SKS rifle. A member of the house then explained to the accused that Iraqis are legally allowed to have one rifle in their home. The accused agreed and gave the weapon back. Based on the negative results of the search the accused and his unit left the area and did not detain any members of the house.

 

“15. On the next day, on or about 25 October 2004, the accused was again in sector near LSAA. The accused again came across the old Iraqi female who told the accused that he did not look hard enough when he searched Thaher Khaleefa Ahmed’s house and property. She again stated that he was AIF and that there were weapons in the house or on the property.

 

“16. Based on this information the accused again returned to Thaher Khaleefa Ahmed's house and property. The unit again secured and searched the house. There was no resistance. Per unit SOP the men were separated from the women and children. There were three men at the house. They were Thaher Khaleefa Ahmed (the victim of the shooting), Khalifa Ahmed Motter (father of victim), and Abdulah Khalia Ahmed (brother of victim). The men were all searched and zip stripped.

 

“17. Many witnesses have testified that all three men were securely zip stripped.

 

“18. The victim of the shooting was securely zip stripped with his hands behind his back the entire time of the incident and even after his death.

 

“19. None of the three men or anyone else ever resisted or were a threat to the accused or any members of his platoon. Specifically, the victim of the shooting was not a threat to the accused or any members of his platoon.

 

“20. After the area was secured the accused began to interrogate the men in a courtyard next to the house. The accused was asking the men where the weapons were and what AIF group they were affiliated with. All the men who were questioned denied having weapons or being associated with the AIF.

 

“21. While the accused was interrogating the three men, his men continued to search the house and property. One of the accused’s soldiers notified him that he had found an AK-47 rifle in addition to the SKS rifle, which was found the day before. The rifle was brought to the accused. The rifle did not have a magazine inserted and it was not loaded.

 

“22. The accused grasped the rifle and began to interrogate the three men. He questioned them on why they had lied to him the day before about only having one rifle. The accused stated that they had lied to him and that he wanted information on weapons and AIF activity.

 

“23. The accused continued the three men in a loud voice. He began to specifically question (father of victim) who did not give him any information. Then he pushed him to the ground and moved to Thaher Khaleefa Ahmed (the victim of the shooting) and told him if he did not tell him where the weapons were he would shoot him. He then moved his interpreter. Next, he ordered his soldier to stand Thaher Khaleefa Ahmed (the victim of the shooting) up. He then moved the soldier out of the line of fire and fired one round from his M-4 rifle hitting Thaher Khaleefa Ahmed (the victim of the shooting) on the left side of the face. Thaher Khaleefa Ahmed (the victim of the shooting) fell to the ground dead. The M-4 round fired by the accused entered the front left side of the victim’s face and exited the back right side of the victim’s head.

 

“24. Thaher Khaleefa Ahrned (the victim of the shooting) is dead. The cause of death was the accused shooting one round from his M-4 rifle striking the victim in the face and killing him dead.

 

“25. The victim was never a threat to the accused. He was securely zip stripped with his hands behind his back. The victim made no aggressive movements towards the accused.

 

“26. The accused did not act in self-defense when he shot the victim.

 

“27. After the crime the accused reported that the victim had lunged at him, had freed himself from his zip strips, and made aggressive movements towards him. The accused stated that he had acted in self-defense. The accused also told this version of events to his command and to his Company Commander, CPT Robert Gagnon.

 

“28. The victim was examined by a medic, SSG Craig Coleman, who confirmed that the victim was dead and that the cause of death was the accused’s shooting the victim in the face with an M-4 rifle.

 

“29. SSG Coleman also confirmed that the victim’s hands were still securely zip stripped behind his back even after he was dead. […]”

 

 

Photo Credits

 

Background

 

1) Spc. Aleksei Pavlov, 20, of St. Petersburg, Russia, and Spc. Daniel Carlson, 20, of Phoenix, Ariz., patrol the village of Albu Shakur, near Balad, Iraq, on Friday while their company searches for a weapons cache. Both are members of Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, currently attached to Task Force 1-77. - March 12th, 2004 - Steve Liewer/Stars and Stripes;

 

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