American soldier Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is to spend the rest of his life behind bars and will not be granted parole. He was sentenced for killing 16 Afghan civilians last year.
The court heard how he executed men, women and children and set fire to their bodies, before calmly returning to base.
A group of Afghan villagers were flown to the US to give evidence. Bales pleaded guilty in June to avoid the death penalty
“He only got a life sentence without parole but I’m asking the average Americans right here if somebody jumps in your house in the middle of the night, kills 11 members of your family, what sort of punishment would you be passing onto that person?” said one of the relatives of those who were killed.
Another added: “If I had a chance to talk to Sergeant Bales, I would ask him directly right to his face – you’re a murderer why did you do this? Didn’t you ever think about being a human being, human beings wouldn’t do this.”
Bales, a veteran of four combat tours in Afghanistan carried out the attacks on family compounds in Kandahar province. He returned in the middle of his rampage and told a colleague, “I just shot up some people.”
It is the worst case of civilian deaths blamed on a US soldier since the Vietnam War.