By Barbara Starr
The eight Army soldiers charged in connection with the death of Private Danny Chen are facing charges due to “conduct that occurred in the time leading up to his death,” according to a US Army official familiar with the details of the investigation.
The official declined to be identified because the military criminal investigation remains on going.
Essentially the soldiers are charged with hazing and abusing Chen in the weeks and days before he died of an apparent self inflicted gun shot wound. But the case remains open and other charges could be filed.
The eight men charged have been moved to a different base in southern Afghanistan and remain under restrictions. They are not permitted to leave the base. The official said this is standard procedure in part due to concerns for their physical safety now that the charges have been made public.
Chen had complained to his family about how his fellow soldiers were treating him, according to his cousin Benny Chen.
At a recent candlelight vigil held for the soldier, his cousin Banny read a portion of a letter written by Danny to his family while he was in Afghanistan.
“They ask if I’m from China a few times a day. They also called out my name, “Chen,” in a goat-like voice sometimes for no reason. No idea how it started, but it’s just best to ignore it," Chen said, reading from the letter.
- Leigh Remizowski contributed to this report