Six German Servicemen Convicted of Beating, Shocking 163 Military Recruits

Six German servicemen were convicted Wednesday of abusing military recruits with kicks, punches and electric shocks.

Prosecutors said two of the recruits had cigarettes stubbed out on their necks and hands.

The servicemen had been charged with a range of crimes, including demeaning behavior and causing bodily injury in the alleged abuse of 163 recruits they were training, between June and September of 2004.

Half the recruits were made to sit bound and blindfolded near a sand pit, where they were interrogated and tortured as part of exercises simulating a hostage-taking, according to the indictment. Other incidents involved subjecting recruits to electric shocks generated by a field telephone, the indictment said.

The Muenster state court sentenced five of the convicted men to probation; a sixth was fined.

Three other defendants were acquitted and another case was dismissed. Further details were not immediately available.