Sergeant demoted in death of mistreated soldier, 19

A military court in the U.S. state of North Carolina has convicted a staff sergeant in the hazing-related death of Private Danny Chen, a Chinese-American soldier who killed himself while on duty in Afghanistan.

The court-martial in Fort Bragg convicted Andrew VonBockel of one specification of hazing, three specifications of dereliction of duty and two specifications of maltreatment.

The jury sentenced Van Bockel Wednesday to a reprimand, reduction in rank two levels and 60 days of hard labor, 45 of which the court determined he had already served in pre-trial confinement.

The accused is one of eight soldiers charged in relation to the death of Chen, who shot himself in the head on Oct. 3, 2011, after repeated physical and emotional mistreatment by members of his unit.

George Wright, a spokesman for the U.S. Army at the Pentagon, said Wednesday that the Army respects the decision of the jury.

But Elizabeth OuYang, president of the New York branch of the Organization of Chinese Americans, expressed outrage over the sentence, which she called light. She said what VanBockel did to Chen was not corrective training but torture.

Chen, a 19-year-old U.S.-born native of New York City, was one of the weaker members of his platoon who, at times, forgot his equipment and fell asleep on duty.

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