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INTERROGATION PROBE

2 US soldiers face charges in Iraqi's death

DENVER -- The military plans to charge two intelligence soldiers in the suffocation death of an Iraqi general during an interrogation last fall, according to a newspaper report.

Charges of negligent homicide and involuntary manslaughter will be filed against Chief Warrant Officers Lewis Welshofer and Jeff Williams, The Denver Post reported in yesterday's editions, citing a Pentagon document obtained by the newspaper.

Welshofer was not at home yesterday, and his wife declined comment except to say he does have a military lawyer. A Fort Carson spokesman, Lieutenant Justin Journeay, confirmed an investigation was underway but provided no details.

Williams did not immediately return calls seeking comment yesterday. The Judge Advocate General's Office also did not return calls.

Welshofer, a member of the 66th Military Intelligence Group, has said he did nothing wrong. He is accused of sitting on the chest of Iraqi Major General Abed Hamed Mowhoush and covering his mouth while the air force commander was wrapped in a sleeping bag, according to the document.

Mowhoush, 57, died during interrogation Nov. 26 at Qaim, Iraq. His death certificate lists homicide as the cause. The military has said Mowhoush died from asphyxiation due to smothering and chest compression.

The CIA said one of its agents may also have been involved and referred the case to the Justice Department for investigation. Two other soldiers face dereliction-of-duty charges in the interrogation, the newspaper reported; they were not named in the Pentagon document.

Welshofer and Williams were reprimanded by their commander earlier this year and were forbidden from conducting further interrogations, the Post reported.

The mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by US troops has become a worldwide scandal after procedures at the Abu Ghraib prison came to light. Seven members of the 372d Military Police Company have been charged with mistreating prisoners.

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