News / USA

Platoon Testimony Continues in Afghan Atrocities Case

Testimony continues in the military trial, court martial, of American soldier Calvin Gibbs, accused of masterminding war crimes allegedly committed by the platoon he led in Afghanistan.  If convicted, Gibbs could face life in prison without parole.

Alleged crimes

It was in remote areas of Kandahar province where military prosecutors allege that Gibbs plotted fake combat scenes and planned the murders of Afghan civilians.  

Alleged victims included an unarmed 15-year-old boy picked at random in a field - shot before soldiers posed with his body for keepsake photos, like one published in a German newspaper and since presented as evidence at Gibbs' trial.

One after another, members of Gibbs' platoon - some of them already convicted in the case - have testified about the boredom, rampant drug use in the unit and of Gibbs' hatred of Afghan people, whom he is alleged to have described as savages.

Panel deciding Gibbs fate

A panel of soldiers deciding on Gibbs' fate has seen graphic evidence, including photos of severed fingers that witnesses say Gibbs cut off Afghans and kept as trophies.

Gibbs pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder and 13 other charges. In opening statements, his lawyer said Gibbs had been betrayed by members of his platoon and was not responsible for the killings.  In the days ahead, the military jury will decide.

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