Lewis Welshofer Jr.

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Lewis E. Welshofer Jr. is an United States Army soldier, who was charged with homicide related to the death of an Iraqi prisoner, general Abed Hamed Mowhoush during intelligence interrogation. The autopsy report designated the death a homicide, secondary to asphyxia and chest compression.[1]The issues involved include whether he was authorized to use methods that bordered on, or were, torture; if he was trained in using them with the minimum possible risk; if his overall approach to interrogation was sound. He was convicted but given a light sentence, partially in recognition that his orders were ambiguous.


Initially, on November 10, Welshofer questioned Mowhoush without coercion, but, according to an interview with Mowhoush's son, Welshofer's approach changed late in the same week. He bound Mowhoush and slapped him in front of Iraqi detainees, to, in Eelshofer's words, "to show Mowhoush who was in charge."[2] Subsequently, he

MAJ Jessica Voss, Welshofer's commanding officer, testified that refused permission to use methods including slapping prisoners during interrogation, but she had approved restraint with a sleeping bag, although forbidding interrogators to sit on the bagged prisoner. [3][4][5][6][7] Welshofer was then serving as a chief warrant officer in the 3rd Armored Division (U.S.).

Welshofer is alleged to have inserted Iraqi General head first in a sleeping bag, bound the bag with bungee cords, then sat on his chest, and held his mouth closed.[4] General Mowhoush had eight broken ribs from an earlier beatings. Welshofer had also had Mowhoush held down, while bound, and poured water into his mouth and nose

At his court martial a CIA official who observed Welshofer's interrogation techniques, testified that Welshofer acknowledged violating the rules on using brutal interrogation techniques.[6] The CIA official testified he wrote a memo because he was alarmed when Welshofer told him that he violated interrogation rules every day.[8]

On 22 January 2006 Welshofer was convicted of negligent homicide.[7] On 24 January 2006 Welshofer was fined $6000, and sentenced to two months of restriction to his place of work, place of worship, and his barracks.[9]


  1. Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner (Dec. 18, 2003), Autopsy Examination Report, Autopsy No. ME03-571 [Autopsy, Mowhoush,], PDF document pages 93-100
  2. Hina Shamsi (February 2006), Abed Hamed Mowhoush, in Deborah Pearlstein, Command's Responsibility: Detainee Deaths in U.S. Custody in Iraq and Afghanistan, Human Rights First, p. 8, notes 26 and 27
  3. Trial centers on what caused Iraqi's death, Colorado Springs Gazette, 2006-01-18. Retrieved on 2008-10-17. mirror
  4. 4.0 4.1 Jim Spencer. Brutality in a U.S. uniform: Sleeping-bag trick killed Iraqi general, San Francisco Chronicle, 2006-01-22. Retrieved on 2008-10-17. mirror
  5. Article 32 Investigation in the case of United States v. CW2 Williams, SFC Sommer and SPC Loper, United States Army, 2005-03-05. Retrieved on 2008-10-17. mirror
  6. 6.0 6.1 Nicholas Riccardi. Trial Illuminates Dark Tactics of Interrogation, Los Angeles Times, 2006-01-20, p. A1. Retrieved on 2008-10-17. mirror
  7. 7.0 7.1 Nicholas Riccardi. Interrogator Convicted in Iraqi’s Death, Los Angeles Times, 2006-01-20, p. A1. Retrieved on 2008-10-17. mirror
  8. Tom Roeder. Secret witness: Carson interrogator broke rules, Colorado Springs Gazette, 2006-01-19. Retrieved on 2008-10-17. mirror
  9. Josh White. Army Interrogator Reprimanded in Iraqi's Death, Washington Post, 2006-01-24. Retrieved on 2008-09-28. mirror