Slain Chinese-American GI’s family wants soldiers tried in US
Asian-American advocates and the family of a Chinese-American Army private believed to have committed suicide in Afghanistan after hazing by his fellow soldiers called Thursday for the eight soldiers charged in his death to be tried in the United States “to see that justice can be served.”
They made the demand after meeting with Army officials on Wednesday at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn to learn more about the Oct. 3 death of Pvt. Danny Chen, 19, in the Panjwa’i district of Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan. He was found dead at a guard tower with his rifle lying next to him in what the Army calls an “apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.”
The family on Thursday said investigators found that Chen was forced to perform excessive exercises, ordered to crawl through gravel with a heavy pack on and subjected to racial slurs.
The Army announced in late December that it had charged eight of his fellow soldiers in his death. Five of them were charged with involuntary manslaughter and negligent homicide, apparently the first time such charges have been brought in this type of case, said experts on hazing and on the military legal system said.
An Article 32 hearing, which would determine whether there was enough evidence for a courts-martial, was to begin Friday in Afghanistan — a fact the family only learned Wednesday, said Elizabeth OuYang, New York branch president of OCA, a national civil rights organization serving Asian Pacific Americans.
Defense attorneys asked for a delay, Ouyang said, and the family and community had decided to release the new details about what happened to Chen as part of an effort to move the legal proceedings to the United States.