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GIs face bullying death charges

Eight American soldiers have been charged with bullying to death a fellow soldier in southern Afghanistan who shot himself.

Private Danny Chen, a 19-year-old from New York, was found in a guard tower in Kandahar province with what the army described at the time as "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound".

The military said the eight soldiers from Chen's company face charges ranging from dereliction of duty, assault, negligent homicide and involuntary manslaughter.

New York Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez told a US news conference that fellow soldiers called Chen "Jackie Chen" in a derisive accent. She said Chen was dragged across a floor, had stones thrown at the back of his head and was forced to hold liquid in his mouth while upside down as part of apparent bullying.

Chen's family told the conference they were encouraged to hear of the charges against the soldiers.

His father, Yen Tao Chen, said that the news "gives us some hope."

The soldiers remain in Afghanistan but have been removed from their duty positions and sent to a different base. They are under increased supervision.

The Army announced in October that it was investigating Chen's October 3 death.

The Defence Department has faced rising suicide numbers during its protracted wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.


From Belfast Telegraph