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U.S. Army charges 8 over death of Chinese-American soldier

12-22-2011 08:38 BJT

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Eight U.S. soldiers deployed to southern Afghanistan were charged on Wednesday in connection with the death of a fellow Chinese-American soldier in October, the American Forces Press Service reported.

Danny Chen, a 19-year-old infantryman assigned to Company C, 3rd Battalion of 25th Infantry Division, died on Oct. 3. His body was found in a guard tower in southern Afghanistan with "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound" in his head, the report said.

The U.S. Army has charged eight of Chen's fellow soldiers in connection with his death: 1st Lt. Daniel J. Schwartz, Staff Sgt. Blaine G. Dugas, Staff Sgt. Andrew J. Van Bockel, Sgt. Adam M. Holcomb, Sgt. Jeffrey T. Hurst, Spc. Thomas P. Curtis, Spc. Ryan J. Offutt, and Sgt. Travis F. Carden.

All of the accused are assigned to Company C, and posted to Combat Outpost Palace in southern Afghanistan, U.S. military officials were quoted as saying. The charges include dereliction of duty, maltreatment, involuntary manslaughter, assault consummated by battery, and reckless endangerment.

No further information was disclosed by the report about the real causes of Chen's death, or if it was a suicide.

The death of Chen, from Chinatown of New York, shocked local Asian-Chinese communities, which urged the U.S. military to launch a thorough investigation into the incident.

U.S. military official revealed to Chen's family that he had been subjected to physical abuse and ethnic slurs by his superiors, who dragged him out of bed one night and across the floor when he failed to turn off a water heater after showering, according to a report published by the New York Times in October.

This is the second such incident in the past year after the suicide of another Chinese-American soldier Harry Lew, a Marine from California, who killed himself in April in Afghanistan. Investigators found that Lew was subjected to a brutal hazing by his fellow Marines, who were ordered court-martialed in October.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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