- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 26, 2003

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) The Army sergeant suspected in a deadly grenade attack in Kuwait will be moved to Germany now that a military magistrate has found probable cause that the soldier committed the crime, Army officials said yesterday.
Sgt. Asan Akbar was taken into custody Sunday, shortly after a series of explosions rocked tents at the headquarters of the 101st Airborne Division's 1st Brigade. A captain was killed and 15 soldiers injured, including the brigade commander, Col. Ben Hodges.
In a statement issued by Fort Campbell, the 101st Airborne Division's home base, the Army said Sgt. Akbar was taken Monday to Camp Virginia, Kuwait, where a magistrate reviewed evidence. The military magistrate "found that a crime was committed, that it is probable that the accused soldier committed that crime," the statement said.
"It appears that the explosions were the result of three grenades that were thrown or rolled through the front door of each of these three tents," the statement said. "These grenades were both fragmentary and incendiary devices designed to cause either death or serious battlefield injuries."
Sgt. Akbar was then taken from Camp Virginia to Camp Doha, also in Kuwait, and was to be transported to Mannheim, Germany, to await formal charges and a pretrial investigation.
The Army stressed that Sgt. Akbar should be considered not guilty until proven otherwise.
"The command is cognizant of the fact that one of the things that separate us from our current enemy is the fairness of our system of justice," according to the statement issued by Maj. Trey Cate, 101st Airborne public affairs officer in Kuwait.
Meanwhile, family members in Louisiana said Sgt. Akbar, who is black, gave no hint of any problem with the military, though he once complained about difficulties blacks had in attaining rank.
During an interview aired Tuesday on ABC's "Good Morning America," Ismail Bilal said his brother "spoke just like any other soldier going overseas." The brother said he felt "a melting pot of emotions" after learning about the charge.
Sgt. Akbar's former stepfather, William Bilal, told "Good Morning America" the last time he was with him was three years ago, "he spoke about how hard it was for a black man to make the rank in the military."

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