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Two British Soldiers Sentenced For Abusing Afghan Civilians

Two British soldiers, identified as only 'X' and 'Y' due to legal reasons, have been sentenced at a court martial in Germany after they admitted to sexually and racially abusing civilians while serving in Afghanistan, it was announced Tuesday.

Nevertheless, their patrol commander, who was identified as 'Z,' was cleared of ignorance and failure in dealing with the offenses. The three defendants appeared in court at the British army barracks in Sennelager on Tuesday for the court martial.

Soldier 'X' had earlier admitted to pulling an Afghan boy's hand towards his crotch while serving in Afghanistan in December 2011, and to insulting another Afghan boy between October 2011 and January 2012.

The soldier 'X', a former private who left the army after his tour of duty in Afghanistan, had pleaded guilty to conduct to the prejudice of good order and service discipline. He was fined 1,000 British pounds by Judge Advocate Alan Large, who noted that there had been no sexual motive behind the soldier's behavior.

Soldier 'Y', a serving lance-corporal, had admitted to having an Afghan man photographed with a racially-offensive sign which read "Silly Paki" between October 2011 and January 2012. The soldier, who was accused of racist conduct "likely to cause harassment or distress" to the victim, had his rank reduced at the court martial.

All the three defendants were granted anonymity amidst fears that naming them might endanger their and their families' lives. Judge Advocate Alan Large refused to lift the anonymity order saying that it would be wrong to name the soldiers in wake of the recent murder of Drummer Lee Rigby outside the military barracks at Woolwich.

"Very especially in the light of recent events in London and the threat posed by lone wolves it seems to me that it would be wrong to lift the restrictions. I accept that it would usually be wrong to make such an order and this should not be seen as an attempt by the military to hide behind the law. It was made in response to very specific circumstances and on specific grounds," the judge advocate said.

by RTT Staff Writer

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