Court-martial OKd for Afghan corpse abuse

March 28, 2013 at 4:44 PM

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., March 28 (UPI) -- A U.S. Marine sergeant photographed urinating on the body of a Taliban fighter should be court-martialed, a hearing officer says.

The officer's recommendation followed an Article 32 hearing at Camp Lejeune, N.C., for Sgt. Robert Richards, Stars and Stripes reported Wednesday. The final decision is in the hands of Lt. Gen. Richard Mills, who heads the combat development command.

A videotape showing Richards and three other Marines urinating on a Taliban corpse was posted on YouTube last year. He was charged with dereliction of duty, failure to maintain good order and discipline and other counts.

Two Marines involved in the incident in 2011 have pleaded guilty and three were disciplined without being court-martialed. A Marine captain also faces charges.

Guy Womack, Richards' civilian lawyer, argued during the hearing this week the urination did not rise to the level of desecrating a corpse, although he conceded it was in poor taste.

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