WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army postponed the discharge of a Green Beret soldier accused of beating an Afghan police official who had been sexually abusing a boy.
Sgt. First Class Chris Martland, 33, was scheduled to be dismissed from the Army on Nov. 1, for his part in the beating of an Afghan police official in 2011. The Afghan man, who was on the U.S. military's payroll, admitted to keeping a boy tied to his bed for use as a sex slave.
Although the police official admitted sexually assaulting the boy, Martland's actions violated U.S. Army Special Forces' standards requiring soldiers to attempt to use means other than force to change allies' behavior.
The postponement, agreed to by Army Secretary John McHugh and announced Tuesday by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, is meant to give Martland more time to prepare an appeal.
"Out of respect for Chairman Thornberry's continued strong support for our military, and his personal appeal, Secretary McHugh has agreed to postpone Sgt. First Class Martland's discharge from the Army for 60 days to allow him to file an appeal with the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records," an Army statement said.
Thornberry has been actively involved in Martland's case and blames the Army's decision to discharge Martland on part of the downsizing of 120,000 active-duty troops from Iraq, including soldiers with demerits in their service records.