US Army sergeant guilty of murdering Afghan civilians

November 11, 2011 05:33

TACOMA, Wash. - A US Army sergeant was convicted by court-martial on Thursday of murdering unarmed civilians and cutting fingers from their corpses as ringleader of a rogue platoon in Afghanistan's Kandahar province.

A five-member jury panel returned a guilty verdict on all counts against Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, 26, capping an 18-month investigation of the most egregious case of atrocities US military personnel have been convicted of committing during a decade of war in Afghanistan.

Pentagon officials have said the misconduct exposed by the case, which evolved from a probe of drug abuse within Gibbs' Stryker Brigade infantry unit, damaged the image of the United States around the globe.

Photographs entered as evidence in the case showed Gibbs and other soldiers casually posing with bloodied Afghan corpses, drawing comparisons with the inflammatory Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq in 2004.

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