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UPDATED: 09:23, November 07, 2006
Dutch soldier refusing service in Afghanistan convicted without punishment
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A Dutch military court convicted a soldier for refusing to be redeployed to Afghanistan, but spared him punishment because he was suffering post-traumatic stress from the earlier service of duty.

The court in the central city of Arnhem said in a written judgment that both the soldier and the armed forces were responsible to deal with the negative consequences of a mission, such as post-traumatic stress syndrome.

The court criticized the military for not doing enough for the 20-year-old man. The soldier, whose identity was not known, had faced a maximum sentence of two-year imprisonment.

The Dutch have about 1,400 troops stationed in the southern Afghanistan province of Uruzgan. They serve as part of NATO forces, mainly engaged in a peacekeeping and reconstruction mission.

The unidentified soldier said earlier this year that he had been promised he would not be sent abroad when he re-enlisted after a previous mission in Afghanistan. He described his unit then as "a kindergarten class" unprepared to serve in a hostile environment.

Source: Xinhua

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