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Civilian contractor charged with aggravated assault

Release No: UNRELEASED April 16, 2008 PRINT | E-MAIL

BAGHDAD (Apr. 16, 2008) - A pre-trial hearing to consider the allegation of aggravated assault by Alaa "Alex" Mohammad Ali concluded April 16 at Liberty Court Room, Camp Liberty, Iraq.

The charge stems from the Feb. 23 stabbing of another contractor at a combat outpost near Hit, Iraq. The contractor, a fellow translator, was stabbed during a physical altercation with Ali.

The investigating officer for this case was Lt. Col. Charles E.

Febus. His role was to look at the charges, weigh the evidence and make a recommendation based on his findings, said Maj. Kurt Takushi, Chief, Administrative Law, MNC-I. Once he does so, he will report his recommendations to the convening authority, Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Commanding General, Multi-National Corps - Iraq.

This is the first time a civilian has been charged under a 2006 amendment to the Uniform Code of Military Justice - Section 552 of the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2007 (October 17, 2006). Other cases have been considered, but this is the first time charges have been preferred. The 2006 amendment subjects civilian contractors working for the U.S. Government to punishment for crimes under the UCMJ, Takushi said.

Pending Austin’s determination, Ali will return to confinement at Camp Victory, where he has been since Feb. 29, 2008. It was determined continued confinement was warranted in Ali’s case, Takushi said. Ali is presumed to be innocent of the allegation unless and until he is proven guilty.

Ali is being represented by Maj. Javier E. Rivera and Capt. Clay Compton. The prosecution is Maj. Terri J. Erisman and Capt. Cal Cunningham.

Ali is being afforded all the same rights, protections and privileges service members receive in military court, including the right to counsel, right to speedy trial, protection against self-incrimination and presumption of innocence.

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR FOR HIGH-RES PHOTOS, CONTACT THE MULTI-NATIONAL CORPS - IRAQ PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE BY E-MAIL AT: MNCIPAOVICTORYMAINJO@IRAQ.CENTCOM.MIL