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US pays compensation to families of shooting spree victims

The US government has paid compensation to the families of the victims of a shooting spree [JURIST report] allegedly committed by a US soldier, according to statements made by an Afghan elder. The families of the victims killed [AP report] in the incident received $50,000 and the families of wounded victims received $11,000. A US official confirmed that payments were made [CNN report], but refused to comment on the specific amounts. The amounts paid for victims of the shooting spree are significantly larger than what is normally paid to civilian victims of military operations. Civilian victims and their families are typically paid $2,000 for each civilian death and $1,000 for each wounded civilian. The 17 victims, including women and children, were killed in a Kandahar village two weeks ago. The alleged shooter, Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, has been charged with 17 counts of murder [JURIST report], and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Bales will not be the first US soldier prosecuted in relation to deaths of civilians in Afghanistan. In February, the US Army dropped charges [JURIST report] against Army Specialist Michael Wagnon, the last of five soldiers to be charged in connection with the killing of three Afghan civilians. In November, US Sgt. Calvin Gibbs was convicted on 15 charges [JURIST report] of murder, assault and conspiracy in the same case. This will also not be the first time larger amounts of compensation have been given in relation to high profile incidents. In July of 2006, the US government paid a significantly larger than normal amount of compensation to victims after an accident sparked an anti-American riot [JURIST report].

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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