12:59 am - Thursday April 24, 2014

Robert Bales: Court martial for US sergeant over Afghan deaths

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bales facing death penalt

The US soldier accused of killing 16 Afghans and injuring six others could face the death penalty if found guilty of murder, the US Army says.

Staff Sgt Robert Bales will face a court martial on murder and assault charges for a March attack on two villages in southern Afghanistan.No date has been set for the trial, which will take place at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.No US service member has been executed in more than 50 years.

Sgt Bales faces 16 counts of murder and six counts of attempted murder, as well as charges of assault and using drugs and alcohol while deployed.Seventeen victims were women or children, and most of them were shot in the head.Prosecutors say Sgt Bales left his base in Kandahar province, in southern Afghanistan in the early hours of 11 March.

They say he attacked one village, returned to the base and then went out again to attack another nearby compound

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