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Judge Declines To Dismiss Prosecutors In U.S. Soldier's Afghan Massacre Case

U.S. Staff Sergeant Robert Bales (right) is seen at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, in an August 2011 photo.
The military judge in the case of the U.S. soldier who pleaded guilty to shooting dead 16 Afghan civilians has rejected a bid by the soldier's defense team to have prosecutors dismissed.

Defense attorneys had argued that U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales' constitutional right not to incriminate himself was violated when the judge mistakenly gave prosecutors a copy of a mental-health evaluation of Bales.

The defense argued that the prosecutors should be disqualified.

But it was disclosed on August 14 that the judge, Colonel Jeffery Nance, has denied the request.

In June, Bales pleaded guilty to carrying out the massacre in Kandahar Province in March 2012, under a deal in which he avoided being sentenced to death.

He faces a sentencing hearing next week at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters