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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Soldiers Ask for Mercy

NAHA, Okinawa () -- Facing prosecutors' demands that they spend the next 10 years in Japanese jail, three U.S. servicemen pleaded for leniency Monday in the rape of an Okinawan schoolgirl.

Prosecutors asked for the sentences during final arguments in the rape case, which has galvanized opposition to the U.S. military presence on this Japanese island.

Defense lawyers said such prison terms would be unusually harsh, and the three defendants pleaded for forgiveness. Prosecutors, however, read a statement from the girl's father asking for the harshest possible punishment.

"Please keep these criminals in prison until they die -- please," the father wrote. "I wish I could kill them."