Mahmudiya rape and killings

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The Mahmudiya rape and killings refers to war crimes perpetrated by U.S Army soldiers on March 12, 2006 in the village of Yusufiyah, Iraq in which a 14 year old Iraqi child by the name of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi was gang-raped and murdered along with 3 other members of her family. [1] Five U.S soldiers were charged with rape and murder; Specialist Paul E. Cortez, Specialist James P. Barker, Private First class Jesse V Spielman, Private First Class Bryan L Howard, and Private First Class Steven D. Green.


According to neighbors of the Janabi family, Abeer stayed mostly at home due to her parents not allowing her to go to school because of security concerns. Abeer had dreams of hoping to one day live "in the big city"(Baghdad). Her relatives described her as proud.[2]

A U.S Army checkpoint was located 200 meters from Abeer's home. From the checkpoint, U.S troops would watch Abeer doing chores and work in the garden.[3][4] Abeer's brother Mohammed had recalled that soldiers often searched the house. On one occasion, Private First class Steven D. Green, ran his index finger down Abeer's face which terrified her. [5] Before the murder's, Abeer's mother had told her relatives that whenever she caught U.S troops staring at Abeer, they would give her a thumbs up sign and say, "Very good, very good." Due to this, Abeer's mother made plans for her to stay at her uncle's house.

Rape and murders

On March 12, 2006, soldiers at the checkpoint from the 502nd Infantry Regiment consisting of Private First Class Steven Green, Specialist Paul E. Cortez, Specialist James P. Barker, Private First Class Jesse V. Spielman, and Private First Class Bryan L. Howard, were playing cards, illegally drinking alcohol, hitting golf balls and discussing plans to rape Abeer and "kill some Iraqis."[6] Four out of 6 soldiers at the checkpoint decided to go to Abeer's home after they had seen her passing by their checkpoint earlier.

Abeer's father was spending time with his family while his sons were at school. In broad daylight, the four U.S soldiers, walked into the house with only army issue long underwear to look like "ninjas" and separated Abeer from her family. Spielman grabbed Abeer's 6 year old sister and brought her inside the house. Cortez said that when he and Barker were raping Abeer,"She kept squirming and trying to keep her legs closed and saying stuff in Arabic". [7] Additionally, Cortez said that, "During the time me and Barker were raping Abeer, I heard 5 or 6 gunshots that came from the bedroom. After Barker was done, Green came out of the bedroom and said that he had killed them all, and that all of them were dead." Green then took his turn to rape the girl and shot her dead. The soldiers then set her body on fire with kerosene in an attempt to cover up the crime. [8]