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article imageUS pays blood money to relatives of Afghan shooting victims

By Katerina Nikolas     Mar 25, 2012 in World
Afghan government officials have revealed that tens of thousands of dollars has been paid in compensation to those injured, and to relatives of the victims, of the U.S. soldier who has been charged in connection with the Kandahar massacre.
According to Alarabiya the information was only released on condition of the official's anonymity. He revealed that the families of the 17 murdered Afghans received payments of $46,000 each, while the injured received just under a quarter of that amount. He confirmed that the funds were provided by the U.S. military.
A spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force declined to confirm if payments had been made, but said “As a matter of policy ISAF does not make restitution for losses resulting from combat, combat-related activities or operational necessity. However he added “Individual troop-contributing nations may participate in some form of restitution consistent with the cultural norms of Afghanistan."
According to the Star the families of unintentional “collateral damage” victims are customarily paid $2,500 by the U.S. but the Afghan victims did not fall into this group as they were killed as a result of a deliberate crime.
The U.S. will have calculated that the payments will go some way to satisfy Afghan demands for speedy justice. Under Islamic law the offer of blood money,known as diya, is a usual practice which can mitigate the calls for revenge against the perpetrators of violence. Often a death sentence will be commuted to imprisonment if relatives agree to accept payment.
Digital Journal reported that in Sept. 2011 the rates of diya in Saudi Arabia were increased from $29,330 to $106,654, to reflect the increased costs of camels. A man's life is considered to be equal in value to 100 camels, while a woman's life is equal to that of 50.
According to Bloomberg the payment to relatives of the Aghan victims had been expected by Noah Coburn, a senior adviser with the U.S. Institute of Peace, who said "The payment of compensation in the case of homicides like these would be typical in a case resolved in the south of the country."
Meanwhile it could be up to two years before Staff Sergeant Robert Bales actually stands trial for the massacre.
More about Blood money, Afghan shooting, Staff Sergeant Robert Bales
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