Biden pledges appeal on Blackwater ruling

Salam Faraj; 25/1/10

US Vice-President Joe Biden has reassured Iraqi officials that the Obama Administration will appeal against a US court decision to drop charges against Blackwater, the company whose security guards are accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007. ”A dismissal is not an acquittal,” Mr Biden told reporters during a weekend visit to Baghdad. ”Today I am announcing that the United States Government will appeal this decision. Our Justice Department will file that appeal next week.” The five Blackwater guards had been charged with killing the civilians and wounding 18 others in an attack using guns and grenades at Baghdad’s busy Nisur Square in September 2007. Charges against the Blackwater employees were dismissed last year, when a judge ruled US prosecutors violated their rights by using incriminating statements they had made under immunity during a State Department probe. The ruling outraged the Iraqi Government, which maintains that 17 people were killed.