Reduced rank for Marine in Hamdania case

CAMP PENDLETON, California (Reuters) - A U.S. Marine guilty of kidnapping and conspiring to murder an Iraqi grandfather last year was sentenced on Friday to a reduction in rank to private and a bad-conduct discharge with no additional time in prison, according to a U.S. Marine Corps statement.

Cpl. Trent Thomas, who has been in military in prison since May 2006, was found guilty by a military jury on Wednesday of kidnapping and conspiracy to commit larceny, housebreaking, kidnapping, false official statements and murder for his involvement in the death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad in April 2006 near Hamdania, Iraq.

Thomas, a Purple Heart recipient who was serving his third tour of duty in Iraq, was one of eight members of an infantry battalion charged in the death of Awad, a disabled Iraqi policeman. The incident was one of a series in which U.S. forces abused or killed Iraqi civilians under questionable circumstances, damaging the image of U.S. troops abroad.