Lawyers for Robert Bales, accused of the massacre of 17 Afghan citizens on March 11 are blaming the U.S. for blocking the team from interviewing witnesses in Kandahar.
The legal team representing Robert Bales are saying that the U.S. is stopping them from launching a fact-finding mission into the Kandahar incident. They have been obstructed from interviewing injured Afghan citizens at a hospital in Kandahar and the prosecution team is not cooperating.
According to John Henry Browne, who leads the legal team, prosecution investigators who had interviewed the injured had let them go freely, without keeping any contact information.
They are now impossible to contact and the prosecution is refusing to share any data with the defense team.
"It's outrageous," Browne told AP. "The only reason to hide evidence is if you don't have evidence."
Staff Sergeant Robert Bales stands accused of murdering seventeen Afghani civilians on March 11.
Browne also said that "There is no evidence that Bales was under the influence of alcohol that night."
The team has only been able to talk to U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, but no witnesses of the event. Images that were captured by a surveillance camera on a blimp above the base, which allegedly show Bales returning after the alleged massacre, are being withheld from them.
Browne said that the military prosecutors are unwilling to cooperate and that “they are concerned about the strength of their case.” He has complained of an “almost complete information blackout from the government, which is having a devastating effect on our ability to investigate the charges preferred against our client.”
Robert Bales is accused of multiple counts of premeditated murder and is likely to receive the death sentence. At present he is remaining at the Fort Leavenworth military base in Kansas.
As reported by Digital Journal earlier in the month, the Afghan Parliamentary team had insisted that up to 20 U.S. soldiers were involved in the incident. They had spent 2 days collating reports from survivors, witnesses and other inhabitants in the villages where the massacre took place.
Investigator Hamizai Lali had told Afghan News: “We are convinced that one soldier cannot kill so many people in two villages within 1 hour at the same time, and the 16 civilians, most of them children and women, have been killed by the two groups.”
The number of deaths has recently been increased to 17 civilians.
And now Bales' legal team will not be able to interview the villagers and find out if there is any truth to these allegations.