US soldiers charged in Afghan urination case

Marine Corps punishment for incident, a video of which was circulated on internet, falls short of criminal prosecution.

Afghan protests
Shortly after the release of the footage, Afghanistan was engulfed by anti-US Quran-burning protests [Reuters]

Two US soldiers are to face criminal charges for urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, the Marines Corps has said.

The criminal charges are the first faced by anyone over the incident, a video of which was widely circulated on the internet, prompting protests in Afghanistan earlier this year.

At the time, Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, called the Marines’ actions “inhumane”.

Staff Sergeants Joseph Chamblin and Edward Deptola were also charged with “posing for unofficial photographs with human casualties” the Marine Corps said, and will face a court martial.

The Marine Corps’ investigation showed that although the video was only circulated on the internet in January, the incident actually took place on or around July 27, 2011, during an operation in Helmand province.

The Marine Corps said on August 27 that three soldiers had pleaded guilty to charges over the video. Their punishment, however, fell short of criminal prosecution.

Chamblin and Deptola also face a series of charges related to being in dereliction of their duties, including failing to supervise junior soldiers. The charges also include failing to report the “negligent discharge” of a grenade launcher.

Deptola is also charged with failing to stop the unnecessary damaging of Afghan compounds.

The Marine Corps said there were other pending cases in the video investigation. They declined to elaborate on the incident in which the negligent actions took place.

Source: News Agencies