Soldier accused of slaughter of Afghan civilians 'in state of shock' says lawyer


The soldier accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians claims to have “memory gaps” and to not “fully understand” the allegations against him, according to his lawyer.

US Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, a four-tour combat veteran accused of killing the Afghans in a shooting rampage in Kandahar last week, was due to be charged yesterday with 17 counts of murder. Earlier accounts of the incident had tallied 16 victims, including nine children and three women.

Yesterday, his lawyer, John Henry Browne, said that Bales was “kind of in shock ... he didn’t really know the nature of the specific allegations when I met with him.”

“Have you seen the movie The Hurt Locker?” Browne asked in a television interview, “that’s a Disney movie compared to what these guys are going through.” Bales’s mental state “ will be definitely an issue”. – (Reuters)