June 6 - U.S. Army sergeant Robert Bales admits killing 16 Afghan civilians but there's anger over a plea deal to avoid execution. Paul Chapman reports.
PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL U.S. Army sergeant Robert Bales has pleaded guilty to the killing of 16 Afghan civilians. His admission of guilt is the result of a deal with military prosecutors to avoid the death penalty. Bales walked off his base in Kandahar province last March, and gunned down unarmed villagers. It was the worst case of civilian slaughter blamed on a rogue U.S. soldier since the Vietnam war. Bales' guilty plea and his deal with the prosecutors has outraged many in Afghanistan (SOUNDBITE) (Pashto) KANDAHAR RESIDENT, NANAI KHAN, SAYING: "Robert Bales should not reach a plea deal with prosecutors in order to avoid a death penalty. He must be punished with the death penalty in order for it to be a lesson for other criminals. In fact we wanted him to be on trial in Afghanistan." Afghan human rights activist Nadir Nadiri says true justice is in everyone's interest. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFGHAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST, NADIR NADIRI; SAYING: "The prosecution of Robert Bales is the first step toward giving assurance to the Afghan public that there won't be immunity and impunity for serious crimes such that Robert Bales has committed." The plea deal with Bales, seen here on the left, is subject to final approval by the presiding judge.