SAN DIEGO – A Marine from Camp Pendleton, convicted in one of the most high-profile, controversial cases of alleged misconduct by U.S. troops in the Iraq war, was released Friday from the brig at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
Marine officials said that a Marine van picked up Sgt. Larry Hutchins at midday and is taking him to Camp Pendleton, where he will be assigned, as officials mull further action in the case.
Hutchins served six years behind bars in connection with the 2006 killing of an unarmed Iraqi.
The government could still appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to have Hutchins’ conviction reinstated. The Marine Forces Central Command could also seek to retry Hutchins in a court-martial. Another option would be to discharge Hutchins, a native of Massachusetts.
Hutchins, now released, will be able to reunite with his wife and two children, who live in Oceanside, Calif.
Seven enlisted Marines and one Navy corpsman from Camp Pendleton were convicted at court-martial in the killing that occurred in Hamdania, west of Baghdad. As the squad leader, Hutchins received the longest sentence. All of the others are now freed; none served more than 18 months.
The plan to drag an unarmed Iraqi from his home at night and kill him was developed as a warning to other Iraqis not to attack Marines with sniper shots or buried roadside bombs.
Bangladesh work safety urged
WASHINGTON – The U.S. government on Friday urged Bangladesh to take measures to protect workers’ rights and improve factory conditions if it wants to have trade benefits restored.
The Obama administration suspended Bangladesh’s preferential trade arrangements on June 27 to press the country to address worker safety.
A building collapse in April killed 1,127 workers in what was the deadliest incident in the history of the global garment industry. The collapse came just months after 112 Bangladesh workers died in a garment factory fire.
At the time of the suspension, the Obama administration provided Bangladeshi officials with an action plan that, if implemented, could be the basis for Obama to reinstate the trade preferences. On Friday, the administration made the action plan public to reinforce all international efforts to improve worker rights and safety in Bangladesh.
The plan calls for increasing the number of labor, fire and building inspectors and modifying labor laws related to collective bargaining and discrimination against union members.
Fatality in roller coaster ride
ARLINGTON, Texas – A woman died Friday in an accident while riding the Texas Giant roller coaster at a Six Flags amusement park.
The accident happened just after 6:30 p.m. at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington. Park spokeswoman Sharon Parker confirmed that a woman died while riding the coaster at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington but did not specify how she was killed.
Witnesses told local media that the woman fell from the ride.
The Texas Giant reaches 14 stories high and has a drop of 79 degrees.
A park visitor said she was next in line behind the woman and saw her being strapped into her seat next to her son.
“We heard her screaming. We were like, ‘Did she just fall?’ ” she told the Dallas Morning News.
Judge: Let jailed Muslims pray
INDIANAPOLIS – A federal judge on Friday gave the government 30 days to start allowing American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh and other Muslim inmates to hold group prayers outside their cells in a high-security prison in Indiana.
In a seven-page order, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson said the Bureau of Prisons might have misconstrued her ruling seven months ago that granted Lindh’s request to hold group prayers in the Terre Haute federal prison’s Communications Management Unit, so she made her intent clear.
“The warden is to allow group prayer during every Muslim prayer time for which the inmates are not confined to their cells,” she wrote in bold print.
“Put simply, just as inmates are free to assemble, socialize and engage in other group activities in common, recreational areas during times they are released from their cells, so too must they be allowed to engage in group prayer in common, out-of-cell areas,” Magnus-Stinson said.
Following the Jan. 11 order, the warden at first set aside a common room for prayer three times daily, but later revoked that and currently allows only two Muslims at a time to pray together inside a cell.