Polish soldiers charged over Afghan killings

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WARSAW, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Prosecutors said today they had charged seven Polish soldiers over the shooting to death of six Afghan civilians.

Prosecutor Karol Frankowski said the killings, which took place in August, were not accidental and did not happen in response to any life endangering situation.

Previously authorities had reported that the civilians were killed in an exchange of fire with Taliban insurgents but the prosecutor said the shooting in an Afghan village was not a response to any attack.

''There wasn't any situation or anything which could indicate a danger to their lives or to lives of any other soldiers,'' Frankowski told a news conference. ''Women and children were also victims of this shooting.'' He said six of these soldiers could face from 12 years up to a life sentence in prison and one of them up to 25 years.

''Polish soldiers have violated the international law protecting civilians,'' Frankowski told the news conference.

He refused to answer whether the soldiers had committed the crime deliberately but said the soldiers did not face any aggression from citizens of the village.

No trial date has yet been set.

Poland has over 1,000 soldiers in Afghanistan as part of a NATO mission.

REUTERS PY VC2152

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