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US soldier acquitted in Afghan killing case

[JURIST] A US Green Beret was found not guilty [press release] at court-martial Wednesday of murder and mutilating a dead body [UCMJ texts] in connection with the March 2008 killing of an Afghan man near Hyderabad, Afghanistan. Army Special Forces Master Sgt. Joseph Newell of the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) [official website] was charged [JURIST report] last September in connection with the death, which occurred after a driver whom Newell had stopped for questioning lunged, prompting Newell to shoot him twice. The military jury deliberated for about four hours before returning its verdict. The Fay Observer has more.

In 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] released documents [JURIST report] describing multiple 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.

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