Civilian Contractor in Iraq to Face Court-Martial
American Forces Press Service
BAGHDAD, May 29, 2008 A contractor in Iraq charged under military law with stabbing another contractor was scheduled to be arraigned today in Baghdad.
Alaa “Alex” Mohammad Ali, a contractor charged with aggravated assault, was scheduled to be arraigned today at Camp Victory here.
The charge against Ali stems from the Feb. 23 alleged stabbing of another contractor at a combat outpost near Hit.
This is the first time a civilian will be tried by court-martial under a 2006 amendment to the Uniform Code of Military Justice contained in the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act, U.S. military officials said. The amendment allows for civilian contractors working for the U.S. government to be punished for violations of the UCMJ.
The pretrial investigating officer, Lt. Col. Charles E. Febus, recommended the charge be forwarded to the general court-martial convening authority, Army Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, for referral to a general court-martial. Austin referred the charge to a general court-martial May 10.
Ali has been in confinement at Camp Victory since Feb. 29, when he was accused of stabbing a fellow translator four times in the chest. Military officials stressed that he is presumed to be innocent unless and until he is proved guilty.
Officials said Ali is being afforded all the same rights, protections and privileges servicemembers receive in military court, including the right to counsel, right to speedy trial, protection against self-incrimination and presumption of innocence. He is represented by military defense counsel.
(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)