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8 soldiers charges in death of Pvt. Danny Chen of New York

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Eight U.S. soldiers deployed to southern Afghanistan have been charged in the Oct. 3 death of a fellow soldier, Regional Command-South said.

The eight face charges related to the death of Pvt. Danny Chen, who was found in a guard tower with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Stars and Stripes reported Wednesday.

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A 19-year-old Chinese-American from New York who had enlisted in January, Chen was found dead with a gunshot wound below his chin, reports said.

The New York Times reported an Army official told his family Chen had been beaten by superior officers and subjected to racially motivated taunts before he died.

Chen had told of being hazed in letters home to his family.

"People crack jokes about Chinese people all the time," one of the letters read. "I'm running out of jokes to come back at them."

Charges against the eight soldiers include dereliction of duty, maltreatment, involuntary manslaughter, assault consummated by battery, negligent homicide and reckless endangerment, Stars and Stripes reported.

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