Afghan skull scandal: Germany suspends 2 soldiers
Two German soldiers have been suspended following the publication of photographs of troops playing with a human skull in Afghanistan.Updated: Oct 27, 2006 19:30 IST
Two German soldiers have been suspended following the publication of photographs of troops playing with a human skull in Afghanistan, Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said on Friday.
"Two soldiers have been suspended from their duties," the minister told journalists.
They are being investigated on suspicion of disturbing the peace of the dead, which is a legal offence in Germany punishable by up to three years in prison.
The scandal broke on Wednesday when Bild newspaper ran pictures of Bundeswehr soldiers mounting a skull on a vehicle bearing the German flag and the name of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
It escalated on Thursday when a television channel aired similar pictures, which it said were taken in Afghanistan in March 2004, a year later than those published in Bild.
The newspaper said on Friday that it had found more pictures, which it planned to publish at the weekend.
One allegedly shows a soldier pointing his gun at a skull.
German state prosecutors today told Bild they were investigating criminal charges against seven suspects in total.
Jung has said most of the suspects had completed their tour of duty and left the army, but promised that those still with the Bundeswehr would be dismissed.
Bild published an interview with an unnamed soldier today who admitted that he was one of the troops who had clowned for the camera with a skull on a road outside Kabul.
He claimed he had acted under pressure from his peers.
First Published: Oct 27, 2006 19:30 IST