US Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for the massacre of sixteen Afghan civilians in 2012.
But in the Afghanistan village where the murders took place, the sentence was met with anger as many relatives of Bales' rampage—most of whom were women and children—say the US soldier should face harsher punishment for his crimes.
As the BBC reports:
Friends and family members of those killed say they were stunned to learn that he has escaped capital punishment.
"It is our firm demand that Afghanistan, the US and the international community condemn this American to death. He martyred our family members... and went back with his body full of blood of his victims to his camp," bereaved villager Mullah Baran told the BBC.
Another villager, Haji Baqi, whose brother was killed by Bales, said: "We want him to be hanged. The international community should not ignore our grief."
Villager Samiullah said the life sentence meant that justice had not been done. His mother, uncle and cousin were killed.
"The criminal is not being punished," he said. "We want him to be dealt with as his deeds deserve."
Though it seems as though Bales would have no hope for future release from his life sentence, a military jury must still decide whether or not he will one day be eligible for parole. That decision will be rendered after further proceedings set to begin August 19.
During Wednesday's hearing, Bales spoke in a reportedly "calm and steady" voice as he described his violent actions. When asked to describe his motivations, Bales said, "There is not a good reason in this world for why I did the horrible things that I did."