Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Paris, Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015.

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

2014-07-11 21:47 AFRICA NEWS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

  • Germany vs Argentina - history and genius clash in World Cup final

    Read more

  • French military to extend Mali 'counterterrorism' operations into Sahel

    Read more

  • Boko Haram claims Nigeria attacks and supports Iraqi militants

    Read more

  • Israeli navy attacks Hamas base as tanks line up along Gaza border

    Read more

  • French court lifts mayor’s ban on Muslim hijab at beach

    Read more

  • Shells land in Russia as eastern Ukrainians flee fighting

    Read more

  • Rival Libyan militias exchange heavy fire at Tripoli airport

    Read more

  • Holland beat hosts Brazil 3-0 to finish third in World Cup

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament fails to agree on new leadership

    Read more

  • Afghan presidential candidates agree to full vote audit, Kerry says

    Read more

  • France’s Kadri wins eighth stage at Tour de France

    Read more

  • Last of the Ramones, Tommy Ramone, dies aged 62

    Read more

  • Video: Outrage in wake of deadly Casablanca buildings collapse

    Read more

  • Putin revives old Cuban flame and eyes Latin American minerals

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

Americas

US seeks death penalty in Afghan massacre case

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-12-19

The United States Army said on Wednesday that it would seek the death penalty against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales for the killing of 16 Afghan villagers during a predawn rampage in March, a decision his lawyer called "totally irresponsible".

The U.S. Army said Wednesday it will seek the death penalty against the soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers in a predawn rampage in March, a decision his lawyer called “totally irresponsible.”

The announcement followed a pretrial hearing last month for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 39, who faces premeditated murder and other charges in the attack on two villages in southern Afghanistan.

The attack drew such angry protests that the U.S. temporarily halted combat operations in Afghanistan, and it was three weeks before American investigators could reach the crime scenes.

Prosecutors said Bales left his remote southern Afghanistan base early on March 11, attacked one village and returned to the base, then slipped away again to attack another nearby compound. Of the 16 people killed, nine were children.

No date has been set for Bales’ court martial, which will be held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle.

His civilian lawyer, John Henry Browne, told The Associated Press he met with Army officials last week to argue his client shouldn’t face the possibility of the death penalty, given that Bales was serving his fourth deployment in a war zone when the killings occurred.

“The Army is not taking responsibility for Sgt. Bales and other soldiers that the Army knowingly sends into combat situations with diagnosed PTSD, concussive head injuries and other injuries,” Browne said. “The Army is trying to take the focus off the failure of its decisions, and the failure of the war itself, and making Sgt. Bales out to be a rogue soldier.”

Bales’ wife, Kari Bales, said in a statement released Wednesday that she hopes her husband receives an impartial trial.

“I no longer know if a fair trial for Bob is possible, but it very much is my hope, and I will have faith,” she said.

Bales’ defense team has said the government’s case is incomplete, and outside experts have said a key issue going forward will be to determine if Bales suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Bales served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

During last month’s preliminary hearing, prosecutors built a strong eyewitness case against the veteran soldier, with troops recounting how they saw Bales return to the base alone, covered in blood.

Afghan witnesses questioned via a video link described the horror of that night. A teenage boy recalled how the gunman kept firing as youth scrambled, yelling: “We are children! We are children!” A girl recalled hiding behind her father as he was shot to death.

An Army criminal investigations command special agent testified that Bales tested positive for steroids three days after the killings, and other soldiers testified that Bales had been drinking the evening of the massacre.

Several soldiers testified that Bales returned to the base alone just before dawn, covered in blood, and that he made incriminating statements such as, “I thought I was doing the right thing.”

Prosecutors, in asking for a court-martial trial, have said his comments demonstrated a “clear memory of what he had done, and consciousness of wrongdoing.”

The U.S. military has not executed anyone since 1961. Five other people in the U.S. currently face military death sentences, all for murders committed stateside.

For Bales to face execution, the court martial jury must unanimously find him guilty of premeditated murder; that at least one aggravating factor applies, such as multiple or child victims; and that the aggravating factor substantially outweighs any extenuating or mitigating circumstances.

(AP)

Date created : 2012-12-19

  • AFGHANISTAN

    Prosecutors seek death penalty for US soldier charged with Afghan massacre

    Read more

  • AFGHANISTAN

    US Army identifies Afghan massacre suspect

    Read more

  • United States

    Pentagon grilled on massacre suspect's mental health

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)