Afghan Survivors And Witnesses Testify At Army Hearing

Nov 12, 2012

Witnesses and survivors recounted a horrific scene following a massacre at two villages in Kandahar Province that killed 16 civilians and wounded 6. They testified via live video from Afghanistan during a pretrial hearing for Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales at Joint Base Lewis McChord.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales
Credit Photo Credit: Maj. Brent Clemmer

Prosecutors say Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales slipped away from his camp twice in the early morning hours to commit the murders.

Bales stared intently at the video feed but showed no emotion as one witness through an interpreter recounted finding the bodies of 11 family members.

Kahmal Adin said most were shot in the head and partially burned in the family compound in Najiban.

Seven of the dead were children under 13. Some he said had boot prints on their faces.

In other testimony an afghan solider on patrol the night of the killings said he was shocked to see an American soldier walking down the main road toward the camp around 1:30am.

When he asked him to stop the soldier greeted him in Farci and kept walking.

The hearings from Afghanistan are being held overnight to accommodate the Afghan witnesses.

The proceedings at Joint Base Lewis McChord are also known as an Article 32 hearing. They will determine whether the case will advance to Court Martial, where the government has stated it plans to seek the death penalty.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio