Group backs Stryker soldier's Afghan photos appeal in civilian killings case

The (Tacoma) News TribuneDecember 22, 2010 

Group supports Lewis-McChord soldier’s fight for pictures in Afghan case

Military law advocates on Monday filed a brief to support a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier’s push to force the Army to disclose photographs of an Afghan he allegedly killed in January.

Pfc. Andrew Holmes of Boise is one of five Stryker soldiers in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division who are accused of murdering Afghan civilians during their deployment earlier this year.

His attorney wants the Army to release images Holmes and his platoon mates took during their patrols of Afghan casualties.

Those images have been ordered to remain concealed at Lewis-McChord’s Criminal Investigations Division out of concern that they could reflect negatively on the Army and incite violence against American soldiers.

At least one image is believed to show Holmes holding up the head of the Afghan who was killed during a January patrol, according to testimony at his Article 32 hearing last month.

The Army Court of Criminal Appeals halted proceedings against Holmes late last month when his attorney filed a motion arguing that the order to conceal photos prevented Holmes from submitting evidence that would have showed his bullets did not kill the Afghan.

At least two other soldiers fired weapons at the Afghan, according to testimony in court.

The National Institute for Military Justice this week lent its weight behind Holmes’ argument that the photos should be disclosed.

It took issue with the Army’s argument that the photos could tarnish the military.

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