Germany suspects 20 soldiers desecrated skulls

30th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

30 October 2006, Berlin (dpa) - A German Defence Ministry inquiry has so far identified 20 German Army soldiers suspected of playing games with skulls they found on a roadside in Afghanistan, a spokesman said Monday in Berlin. Spokesman Thomas Raabe said he was aware that at least one "major daily newspaper" in Germany possessed as-yet-unpublished photos of the activities. He said all the suspects were either non-commissioned or of lower rank. Many of those under suspicion and being interviewed had already

30 October 2006

Berlin (dpa) - A German Defence Ministry inquiry has so far identified 20 German Army soldiers suspected of playing games with skulls they found on a roadside in Afghanistan, a spokesman said Monday in Berlin.

Spokesman Thomas Raabe said he was aware that at least one "major daily newspaper" in Germany possessed as-yet-unpublished photos of the activities.

He said all the suspects were either non-commissioned or of lower rank. Many of those under suspicion and being interviewed had already left the army after ending tours of duty. Two active-duty soldiers were suspended last week.

There was outrage in Germany after the mass-circulation Bild newspaper published photos Wednesday that included one of a soldier exposing his genitals while holding a skull in his right hand.

More photographs were shown on television, among them one of a soldier kissing a skull balanced on his biceps. The photos were apparently taken and distributed with camera phones in 2003 and 2004.

Afghan officials condemned the acts as an affront, but there has been no public outcry in Afghanistan so far over the case.

The soldiers face possible charges of "disturbing the peace of the dead," an offence which carries up to three years in prison.

Raabe said the security situation in Afghanistan remained "unstable and tense" with the number and violence of attacks on German peacekeepers growing this year compared to last.

"We very much hope the security situation does not get worse," he said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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