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Fri Mar 30, 2012, 08:25 PM

Lawyer Says U.S. Blocks Investigation of Afghan Massacre [View all]

Source: Reuters

Lawyer says U.S. blocks investigation of Afghan massacre

SEATTLE | Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:00pm EDT

By Bill Rigby

SEATTLE (Reuters) - The lawyer defending the U.S. soldier accused of murdering 17 Afghan civilians claims U.S. authorities are blocking his ability to investigate the incident.

John Henry Browne, the lawyer for Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, said U.S. forces in Afghanistan have prevented his team from interviewing injured civilians at a hospital in Kandahar, and are allowing other potential witnesses to scatter, making it difficult to track them down.

"When prosecutors don't cooperate, it's because they are concerned about the strength of their case," said Browne at a press conference at his downtown Seattle office on Friday.

Bales was formally charged last week with the murders of eight adults and nine children in a pre-dawn shooting rampage in southern Afghanistan on March 11, which further eroded U.S.-Afghan relations already strained by a decade of war.

Read more: http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE82T0ZX20120331?irpc=932

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