Date: Friday, February 23 2007
A U.S. soldier was sentenced to 100 years in prison Thursday for his role in the gang rape and slaying of an Iraqi girl and the killing of her family.
Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, 24, was one of five American soldiers implicated in the notorious attack in March 2006 in Mahmoudiya, a town 30 kilometres south of Baghdad.
Cortez is the second soldier from the 101st Airborne Division to be sentenced, while the three others are awaiting trials.
Before Cortez's sentence was handed down Thursday by a military court in Fort Campbell, Ky., he apologized for raping 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi and killing her, her parents and her younger sister.
Cortez, tears rolling down his face, said he could not explain why he took part.
"I still don't have an answer," Cortez told the military judge hearing the case, Col. Stephen R. Henley.
How meaningless! The soldiers should have been executed. But he will get out, probably in 15 years. The Iraqi teen and her family however, will still be dead.