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US soldiers punished over Colombia prostitution scandal

21 july 2012, 11:28
©REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
©REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Ten US military personnel involved in the prostitution scandal that overshadowed President Barack Obama's trip to a regional summit in April in Colombia have been punished but not dismissed, AFP reports.

Seven Army soldiers and two Marines "received non-judicial punishments," military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel D.L. Wright said Wednesday, adding that a member of the Air Force had "received a lesser punishment, a reprimand."

The role of two US Navy personnel implicated in the scandal was still under investigation.

The exact penance faced by the soldiers remains undisclosed but non-judicial punishments can include anything from confinement to quarters, to loss of pay or even demotion.

Nine Secret Service agents, part of Obama's security detail who went to the Colombian city of Cartagena in advance of the Summit of the Americas, have already been fired, resigned or retired because of the scandal.

A dozen Secret Service agents were accused of inviting prostitutes back to their hotel. The charges against the soldiers were less clear.

A diplomatic embarrassment for the White House in an election year, Obama later referred to the Secret Service agents involved as "knuckleheads."

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