Apr. 21, 2005 – After adjourning its parliamentary session for an hour on Tuesday to protest the alleged mistreatment of a Shiite lawmaker by a US checkpoint guard, Iraqâ€™s National Assembly voted unanimously to demand an apology from the American embassy as well as punishment for the soldier said to have instigated the episode.
The uproar in Iraqâ€™s legislature started when one member, Fatah Al-Sheikh, recounted the incident from earlier in the day during which Al-Sheikh maintains a US soldier choked him for "a minute or so" and twisted his arm behind his back after cursing at him, "to hell with you and the National Assembly." At least three other members of parliament corroborated Al-Sheikhâ€™s story.
Assembly Speaker Hajem Al-Hassani also demanded the US open a building for exclusive use by the legislature, with security provided by Iraqi guards, threatening to suspend parliamentary sessions altogether unless occupation forces facilitate such a move within a weekâ€™s time.
Other members demanded US forces "liberate" the so-called "Green Zone" area of central Baghdad by leaving it altogether. "Yes, the end of occupation begins here," said an unidentified member of the Assembly, according to Agence France-Presse. "The Green Zone must be liberated from occupation."
The US military issued a statement that confirmed a "verbal and physical altercation" occurred but fell short of placing blame. "We regret this incident occurred and are conducting a thorough investigation," the statement quoted Brigadier General Karl R. Horst as having said.