Thursday, January 13, 2005

If he knew how to swim...there wouldn't have been a problem

GUILTY: Soldier apologizes for Iraq assaults

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — An Army sergeant Perkins, 33, was convicted Friday of two counts of aggravated assault, a charge of assault consummated by battery and a charge of obstruction of justice.

Perkins, who did not testify during his trial, told the jury of Army officers and enlisted members during the sentencing phase yesterday that his actions were wrong, but he did not apologize to the Iraqis. He said he still loved the military and did not want to lose his job.

Perkins and another soldier were accused of ordering soldiers to push the two Iraqis into the river in Samarra in January 2004. Prosecutors say Zaidoun Hassoun, 19, drowned and his cousin, Marwan Hassoun, climbed out the river.

Perkins did not discuss specifics of the incident on the stand Saturday, but admitted he ordered his soldiers to throw an Iraqi man into the river a month earlier.

He said he never meant to injure or kill the Iraqi by throwing him in the river; and he ordered him thrown in the river to teach him a “hard lesson” . .... I didn’t want them to think we were soft or weak,” said Perkins, who has 14 years of military service.

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