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Afghan Victims Testify At U.S. Soldier's Sentencing Trial


A man stands alongside the graves of some of the 16 Afghan villagers killed by U.S. soldier Robert Bales during his shooting spree in Kandahar Province in March 2012.

A man stands alongside the graves of some of the 16 Afghan villagers killed by U.S. soldier Robert Bales during his shooting spree in Kandahar Province in March 2012.

Afghan victims of a shooting spree by a U.S. soldier have spoken at the start of the sentencing trial for the man behind the attack.

Robert Bales has already pleaded guilty to slaying 16 civilians -- many of them women and children -- during raids on two villages in Kandahar Province in March 2012.

The military court in the state of Washington is now deciding whether to sentence him to life in prison or with the possibility of parole after 20 years.

Mohammad Haji Naeem, a 60-year-old Afghan farmer shot during the rampage, cursed Bales before breaking down and asking prosecutors not to ask him any more questions.

Another shooting victim, Rafiulla, talked about the pain of losing his grandmother.

Seven Afghans testified to the court at a U.S. military base in Washington on August 20. Four were hurt in the attacks. Three others were relatives of the dead or wounded.

Defense attorneys for Bales said on August that they would argue during the sentencing hearing that posttraumatic stress disorder and a brain injury were factors in the killings.

Bales is a veteran of four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Based on AP and Reuters reporting
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