U.S. soldier sentenced over killings of Iraqis

BERLIN (Reuters) - A U.S. soldier who admitted involvement in the shooting of detainees in Iraq early last year has been sentenced to seven months in jail and will be dishonorably discharged, the army said on Thursday.

Specialist Belmor Ramos, 23, pleaded guilty at a court martial in Germany to charges of conspiracy to commit premeditated murder. He agreed to testify in the trials of other soldiers involved, the army said in a statement.

Ramos was present when four unarmed, handcuffed and blindfolded Iraqi detainees were allegedly shot dead near a canal in Baghdad in March or April 2007.

Three other U.S. soldiers have been identified by witnesses as the shooters: Sergeant First Class Joseph P. Mayo, the platoon sergeant, Sergeant Michael P. Leahy Jr., a senior medic and an acting squad leader, and First Sergeant John E. Hatley.

Criminal charges have been filed against Hatley, Mayo and Leahy, as well as against Staff Sergeant Jess Cunningham, Sergeant Charles Quigley and Specialist Stephen Ribordy, the army statement said on Thursday.

The sentence for Ramos included a reduction to the rank of private and the forfeiture of all pay and allowances, it added.

Reporting by Iain Rogers; editing by Andrew Roche