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Royal Marines plead not guilty to Afghan murder

Three Royal Marines pleaded not guilty today to the murder of a unknown Afghan while on active service.

The men, known only as Marines A, B and C, entered their pleas in rank order from behind a screen amid tight security at the Military Court Centre in Bulford, Wiltshire.

The men denied the allegation under Section 42 of the Armed Forces Act 2006 that on or about September 15 2011 they murdered the captured person while on patrol in Afghanistan.

David Perry QC, prosecuting, said the core of the prosecution case would be video footage.

Judge Advocate General Jeff Blackett set a two-day pre-trial review hearing to start on August 5 with a trial due to last three to four weeks to commence on October 21.

All three marines were granted bail. Two further marines have been told that the murder charges against them have been dropped.

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Army says it's 'standard practice' to keep body tissue

There are occasions when it is necessary for the RMP Special Investigations Branch to retain slides of forensic material from individuals killed on operations as part of their investigation - this is standard practice.

However, the RMP identified there were a small number of cases where this had been done without the correct processes being followed to inform families. It is thought there could be 60 forensic items, such as microscope slides, containing material from some individuals.

Investigations are being carried out urgently into this matter. "

– ARMY SPOKESMAN

Afghan Soldiers' body samples kept without families' permission

The body parts and tissue of soldiers killed in Afghanistan have been kept by the Ministry of Defence without the permission of their families.

Officials have admitted that six body parts and more than 50 tissue samples were retained by the Royal Military Police.

They were discovered last month when a new manager was appointed at the Military Police's Special Investigations Branch (SIB).

An urgent investigation has been launched and the MOD are trying to identify and inform the families affected.

The body parts were reportedly found at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, while the tissue samples - which were kept on laboratory slides for matching or identifying the dead soldiers - were discovered at the SIB's headquarters at Bulford Garrison in Wiltshire. It is believed that because multiple samples were taken for each case, the number of families affected is likely to be less than 60."

– Army Spokesman

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