US Marine found guilty of urinating on corpses

CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina (AP) - A United States (US) Marine pleaded guilty in a court-martial on Wednesday to urinating on the bodies of dead Taleban fighters and posing for photos with their corpses in one of a string of embarrassing episodes for US forces in Afghanistan.

Staff Sergeant Edward W. Deptola pleaded guilty to the desecration of remains and posing for unofficial photographs with human casualties. He also admitted failing to properly supervise junior Marines.

Deptola and another Marine based at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, were charged last year after video surfaced showing four Marines in full combat gear urinating on the bodies of three dead Afghans in July 2011. In the video, one of the Marines looked down at the bodies and quipped, "Have a good day, buddy."

Staff Sgt Joseph W. Chamblin pleaded guilty to similar charges last month. Chamblin was sentenced to 30 days confinement, reduced in rank, fined and ordered to forfeit part of his pay for six months. Three other Marines were given administrative punishments for their roles in the matter.

The urination video surfaced amid a string of embarrassing episodes for US forces in Afghanistan. American troops were caught up in controversies over burning Muslim holy books, posing for photos with insurgents' bloodied remains and an alleged massacre of 16 Afghan villagers by a soldier.

The Marine Corps said the urination took place during a counterinsurgency operation in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province, located in the south of the country.

After the video garnered international attention on YouTube, senior military officials sternly condemned the behavior of the Marines involved.

The US now has 66,000 troops in Afghanistan. The US and its Nato allies agreed in November 2010 that they would withdraw all their combat troops by the end of 2014, but they haven't decided on the scope of future missions in the country and the size of any residual force remaining after that.