A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

US Special Forces soldier charged with Afghanistan killing

[JURIST] A US Army Special Forces soldier faces court-martial proceedings [JURIST news archive] following his arraignment [press release] in connection with the killing of an Afghan man earlier this year. The Army announced Thursday that Master Sgt. Joseph D. Newell of the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) [unit website] based at Fort Bragg, N.C., is charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice with murder and related offenses [text]. He is accused of fatally shooting an unidentified Afghani near Hyderabad in March and then cutting an ear off the man's body. During an Article 32 preliminary hearing [JAG backgrounder] last month, a defense lawyer contended that the military had insufficient evidence against Newell. A court-martial is scheduled to convene on January 7. AP has more.

Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released documents [JURIST report] describing alleged crimes committed by US soldiers against civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan [JURIST news archive] but showing that troops believed they were following the law in most instances. The materials were made available in conjunction with a lawsuit the ACLU filed to compel the US military to release all documents relating to the deaths of civilians caused by US troops since January 2005. In 2006, court-martial proceedings against a group of US soldiers implicated in the abuse of detainees at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan ended with only one conviction [JURIST report]. Three other soldiers pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to abusing prisoners at Bagram, two others pleaded guilty at the court-martial and five were acquitted. The Army dropped the charges against three others.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.