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Military Said to Weigh Penalties in U.S. Burning Korans

U.S. Army and Navy officials are weighing a recommendation for administrative punishment, not criminal charges, for as many as seven service personnel in connection with the burning of Korans in Afghanistan, according to a U.S. official.

As many as seven personnel, including one Navy service member, were recommended for administration sanctions for their roles in the February burnings of copies of the Muslim scripture, according to the official, who asked not to be identified because a final decision hasn’t been made.

The recommendations are contained in a U.S. Central Command investigation into the incident at Bagram Air Base that led to at least three days of rioting and protests by Afghan citizens. The recommended punishment was reported late yesterday by the Associated Press.

U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie E. Cummings Jr., a spokesman for the NATO International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, urged “caution regarding any speculation over the outcome of the case.”

“The legal processes are continuing according to appropriate investigative procedures, and options are available to decision authorities” of the affected military services, Cummings said today in an e-mailed statement.

In February, Pentagon spokesman Douglas Wilson told reporters that, based on preliminary results, “We do not believe that this was something where those involved intended to burn the Koran as a religious document.”

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