Afghan massacre: Sgt. Robert Bales to get a sanity check-up

Afghan massacre: Sgt. Robert Bales to get a sanity check-up

US Army Sgt. Robert Bales, who has been charged with murdering 16 Afghan villagers last year, is to receive a mental health check-up under the order of a martial court judge, media report.

The hearing took place at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.

According to defense attorneys, at the time of the incident the serviceman was suffering from a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD).

An independent sanity board will be set up to carry out the mental health review. The defense team will take the floor at a later date.

Sgt. Bales faces a death penalty if convicted. Prosecutors claim the 38-year-old left the Kandahar base in Afghanistan late on March 10, 2012 and shot 16 Afghan villagers, including nine children and three women. He allegedly burned some corpses. Afterwards, the man returned to the base and gave up to the commandment.

US seeks death penalty for killer of 16 Afghans

The US military has said it will seek a death sentence for the American soldier accused of murdering 16 Afghan civilians in March 2012.

The lawyer of Sgt. Robert Bales, 39, tried to convince Army officials last week that his defendant shouldn't face the possibility of a death sentence and called this move an attempt to “take the focus off the failure of its decisions.”

Sgt. Bales will be tried at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington D.C. The date of the tribunal hasn’t been announced yet.