[JURIST] Former US military police commander Lt. Col. William Steele was sentenced to two years in prison [press release] Friday after being convicted of unauthorized possession of classified documents, failing to obey an order, and conduct unbecoming an officer by having an inappropriate relationship with an interpreter. Earlier Friday, Steele was found not guilty of more serious charges [JURIST report] of aiding the enemy by providing a cellular phone to detainees while he was in charge of the Camp Cropper detention facility in Iraq. In addition to the two-year prison sentence, Steele was also dismissed him from the US Army and ordered to forfeit all pay and allowances.
Steele was first military officer to face court-martial for aiding the enemy [JURIST report] since the 2003 Iraq invasion, and could have received a life sentence had he been convicted on those charges. Steele's defense lawyer said Monday in court-martial proceedings that Steele was trying to make sure that detainees under his control were treated humanely and was making an effort to improve the US image in Iraq, but prosecutors insisted that Steele ignored rules put in place for detainees. Camp Cropper, located near Baghdad International Airport, is the second-largest US-run military prison [WP report] in Iraq after Camp Bucca in the wake of the closing of the notorious Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive]. Reuters has more.