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Germany

Complaints of Bullying on Rise in Army

Soldiers in the German army made twice as many complaints of bullying and abuse in 2004 as the previous year, a report published on Tuesday showed. German soldiers lodged 94 formal complaints of mistreatment compared with 58 in 2003, according to an annual report submitted to the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag. Forty-three of the complaints concerned one barracks, near the western city of Münster. In November, investigators began examining whether 26 soldiers and officers had taken part in simulated interrogation of their charges, including young men doing national service, at the Coesfeld barracks. However cases of soldiers showing neo-Nazi sympathies dropped slightly to 134 in 2004 against 139 the previous year. Most cases concerned soldiers who had given the 'Hitler salute' or used Nazi phrases while they were drunk, the report said. Willfried Penner, the military's representative in parliament, said the report was a "summary of all the army's shortcomings."

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