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One U.S. soldier has been convicted of abusing detainees in Afghanistan, while a second soldier faces a court-martial Monday on similar charges, American military officials said.

Army Spc. James R. Hayes was convicted Friday on one count of conspiracy to maltreat and two counts of maltreatment, according to a news release from Combined Forces Command — Afghanistan. Hayes was sentenced to four months confinement, reduction in rank to private and forfeiture of all pay and allowances for four months, officials said.

Sgt. Kevin D. Myricks, who is charged in the same incident, will face court-martial beginning Monday.

Both soldiers, then assigned to Company C, 926th Engineer Battalion out of Huntsville, Ala., were accused of punching detainees in the chest, arms and shoulders during a July incident at Forward Operating Base Ripley in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan. The men have been held at a facility on Bagram Air Base since the charges were announced.

Hayes will be transferred to Kuwait for detention, the military said.

“The command takes this matter very seriously. This incident was initially reported through the chain of command by soldiers who displayed a great sense of duty and integrity,” Marine Lt. Col. Bob Fifer, chief of criminal justice for Combined Joint Task Force-76, was quoted as saying in the news release.

Neither of the two detainees involved in the case required medical treatment after the incident, the military has said. One of the detainees has since been released.

A third soldier also was investigated in the case, but faced nonjudicial punishment instead of court-martial.

The soldier, whose name was not released, faced reduction in rank, loss of pay, restrictions and extra duties if found responsible for any abuse.

That soldier allegedly knew about the prisoner abuse and did not report it to his chain of command, officials have said.

There are some 18,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan fighting Taliban and al-Qaida remnants and undertaking reconstruction projects.


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