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Hit-and-run case involving US soldier handed to prosecutors

world Updated: Jan 04, 2010 23:16 IST
Kyodo
Kyodo
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Japanese police sent papers on a US soldier to prosecutors on Monday over his alleged involvement in a fatal hit-and-run accident in Yomitan, Okinawa Prefecture, in November.

The papers on Clyde Gunn, the 27-year-old US Army staff sergeant, pertain to suspected negligence while driving resulting in death, the Okinawa prefectural police said.

The Japanese investigative authorities are considering adding a separate charge of hit-and-run against Gunn, but their efforts towards it have been stalled as he currently refuses to be directly questioned by the Japanese investigators, citing human rights concerns, investigative sources said.

The staff sergeant at the Torii Communication Station in the village has effectively admitted to his involvement in the Nov 7 accident that left a 66-year-old man dead, according to his lawyer.

However, he denies that he fled the scene after hitting the man, saying he is a medic with knowledge and skills to take care of injured people, the lawyer said.

He initially responded to voluntary questioning by the Japanese investigators three times but has refused to go to a police facility, claiming the process of inquiry infringes his human rights.

While he will remain under US military custody until a possible indictment by the Japanese authorities as stated in the Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement, his refusal has angered local residents.