- Title: U.S. appeals court throws out murder conviction of ex-Blackwater guard
- Date: 4th August 2017
- Summary: WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES (ORIGINAL 4:3) (FILE - JANUARY 6, 2009) (REUTERS) BLACKWATER DEFENDANTS WALKING, NICK SLATTEN, IN CENTRE GOING TO COURT BLACKWATER DEFENDANT DUSTIN HEARD ON LEFT WALKING BLACKWATER DEFENDANT EVAN LIBERTY WALKING BLACKWATER DEFENDANT DONALD BALL WALKING / PROSECUTORS DROPPED THEIR CASE AGAINST BALL, THE FIFTH BLACKWATER DEFENDANT IN THE EARLIER CASE BAGHDAD, IRAQ (ORIGINAL 4:3) (FILE - SEPTEMBER 2007) (MUTE) (REUTERS) NISUR SQUARE, WHERE CIVILIANS WERE KILLED IN FIREFIGHT INVOLVING BLACKWATER GUARDS CIVILIANS AND /DAMAGED CIVILIAN CAR IN THE DISTANCE BURNED OUT CIVILIAN CAR IN NISUR SQUARE HELICOPTER FLYING OVERHEAD
- Embargoed: 18th August 2017 17:59
- Keywords: Baghdad Blackwater Iraq security guards trial murder conviction
- Location: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES/BAGHDAD, IRAQ
- City: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES/BAGHDAD, IRAQ
- Country: USA
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice
- Reuters ID: LVA0016SQSJLZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A federal appeals court on Friday (August 4) threw out the murder conviction of an ex-Blackwater security guard and ordered three of his former colleagues to be re-sentenced in the high-profile prosecution stemming from the massacre of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians at a Baghdad traffic circle in 2007.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered a new trial after tossing out the murder conviction of former security contractor Nicholas Slatten.
The three-judge panel said Slatten should have had a separate trial instead of being tried alongside his former colleagues. At a new trial, Slatten would be able to introduce evidence that one of his co-defendants had fired the first shot.
Separately, the court said Paul Slough, Dustin Heard and Evan Liberty, who were all convicted of manslaughter and other offenses over their respective roles in the incident, should be re-sentenced because their 30-year prison terms were too long. The court also threw out one of Liberty's convictions for attempted manslaughter.
The Justice Department declined to comment. Lawyers for the defendants could not immediately be reached.
The Sept. 16, 2007, incident stood out for its brutality even in a city in a grip of a bitter sectarian war and sparked debate over the role of private security contractors working for the U.S. government in war zones.
A heavily armed, four-truck Blackwater Worldwide convoy the men were traveling in had been trying to clear a path for U.S. diplomats after a nearby car bomb.
At Nisur Square, the four guards opened fire on the Iraqis, including women and children, with machine guns and grenade launchers. In addition to the 14 dead, another 17 Iraqis were wounded.
Slatten's murder conviction was for shooting dead the driver of a white Kia car that had stopped at the traffic circle.
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