Debate continued to rage across America on Saturday over where the US soldier – who’s been charged with the pre-meditated murder of 17 Afghans – should be tried.
Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is alleged to have gone on a shooting spree in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province earlier this month.
Bales is being detained at the Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas. He was charged with the killings on Friday and has also been charged with assault and the attempted murder of six other civilians.
US officials say Bales, who was on his fourth combat tour of Afghanistan, is likely to face trial at home.
Washington resident Kate Kelly said: “I think that he committed the crime in Afghanistan and therefore he should be tried in Afghanistan so that he can be faced by the victims of his crime as well as witnesses of the event.”
US media reports that Bales lawyer appears to building a case around his client’s mental health – specifically Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Owen Sczerba, another resident of the US capital said:“In my opinion, its not a get out of jail free card just for his mental state. That doesn’t give him the right to kill civilians and people having nothing to do with this (war).”
Officials in Afghanistan allege that more than one US soldier was involved in the killings.
“We are not doing all this for money. We want these people to go on trial. They claim it is one person who did it. If that is the case, they have to prove it.
“And what they say about this person that he was sick, these claims are wrong,” said Wazir Khan, who lost 11 members of his family in the massacre.
Afghans also want answers to allegations that many of the victims bodies were then burnt.