Civilian contractor charged with aggravated assault
April 26, 2008
A pre-trial hearing to consider the allegation of aggravated assault by Alaa "Alex" Mohammad Ali was held 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 is Lt. Col. Charles E. Febus. His role is 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). The 2006 amendment subjects civilian contractors working for the U.S. Government to punishment for crimes under the UCMJ, Takushi said. Other cases have been considered, but this is the first time charges have been preferred.
Pending Austin's determination, Ali will return to confinement at Camp Victory, where he has been since Feb. 29. 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 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.