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Civilian Contractor Charged With Assault Under Military Law

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2008 – Multinational Corps Iraq announced yesterday that a civilian contractor accompanying the force has been charged with aggravated assault under military law.

Alaa “Alex” Mohammad Ali, an interpreter, is the first contractor to be charged under a 2006 amendment to the Uniform Code of Military Justice – Section 552 of the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2007, MNC-I officials said.

Ali, who holds Canadian and Iraqi citizenship, is accused of stabbing another contractor. Officials said he is presumed to be innocent of this offense until, and unless, he is proven guilty. He has been in confinement at Camp Victory, Iraq, since Feb. 29.

A pre-trial hearing under Article 32, UCMJ has been scheduled for April 10. This hearing is like a civilian preliminary hearing and similar to a grand jury, officials said.

During the proceedings, a senior Army officer will hear evidence and make findings and recommendations about the charge. The resulting report will be forwarded to Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the commanding general of Multinational Corps Iraq.

All the same rights, protections and privileges servicemembers receive in military court will be applied to Ali as well. Those rights include the right to counsel, the right to speedy trial, protection against self-incrimination, and presumption of innocence.

Ali left Iraq and moved to Canada after the Persian Gulf war when Saddam Hussein cracked down on Shiites, according to news sources. He lived there with his wife and three children until, eager to help rebuild his home country, he returned as a contractor.

(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)

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