Army trainers indicted for abusing recruits

10th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

10 August 2006, HAMM, GERMANY - Judges approved Thursday the indictment of 18 German army trainers for assault after allegations that they physically abused dozens of men to "harden" them in case they were ever taken prisoner. The army has sacked several trainers over the summer 2004 course at Coesfeld in northern Germany which included a mock hostage-taking. The "prisoners" were ambushed and tied up in a chilly cell. Water jets were squirted in their mouths and into their trousers. After an outcry, prosec

10 August 2006

HAMM, GERMANY - Judges approved Thursday the indictment of 18 German army trainers for assault after allegations that they physically abused dozens of men to "harden" them in case they were ever taken prisoner.

The army has sacked several trainers over the summer 2004 course at Coesfeld in northern Germany which included a mock hostage-taking. The "prisoners" were ambushed and tied up in a chilly cell. Water jets were squirted in their mouths and into their trousers.

After an outcry, prosecutors opened an inquiry the same year, but it has dragged on. A court spokesman said the trial for mistreatment of soldiers under command, causing dangerous bodily harm and humiliating treatment was not expected to take place until next year.

State court judges in the city of Hamm approved the indictment, saying they believed there was sufficient evidence against all 18 men on all three charges to bring the case to trial. One defendant was an officer and the other three non-commissioned officers.

Judges had to review the case after a lower court ruled in December 2005 that there was insufficient evidence against nine of the 18 to proceed to indictment.

There has been friction between the prosecutors and army educators over the case. Some training officers argued the course might have been excessive, but was duress-free, because the recruits could ask to be released from "capture" at any time by shouting a codeword.

DPA

Subject: German news

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