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Marines Face Charges for Urinating on Corpses in Afghanistan

Two U.S. Marines accused of urinating on dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan and posing for photos with the corpses will face trial by court-martial for violations of the military’s code of justice.

“The incident allegedly took place during a counter-insurgency operation in the vicinity of Sandala, Musa Qala District in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on or about July 27, 2011,” the Marine Corps said today in an e-mailed statement.

The Marines charged, Staff Sergeants Joseph W. Chamblin and Edward W. Deptola, are assigned to the Third Battalion, Second Marine Regiment at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, the Marines said.

The Marine Corps imposed administrative punishments last month on three Marines who pleaded guilty for their roles in the desecration. The episode roiled U.S.-Afghan relations and triggered apologies from top U.S. officials after video depicting four Marines urinating on the corpses circulated across the globe in January.

The punishments for the first three Marines weren’t disclosed. Among the possibilities were a reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay and a reprimand, according to a Marine Corps statement.

After the video became public, the deputy commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan issued an order to all coalition forces in the country to treat dead insurgents with “appropriate dignity and respect,” according to a copy of the order released and signed by Army Lieutenant General Curtis Scaparrotti. He said desecration of the dead violates the law of armed conflict “and can cause serious damage to relations with the Afghan government.”

The video appeared to show the four Marines urinating on three Afghan corpses lying on the ground. An American voice can be heard saying, “Have a great day, buddy,” while another says, “He likes his shower.”

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