US judge dismisses Blackwater massacre charges

2/1/10

A US federal judge yesterday threw out the indictment of five former Blackwater security guards over a shooting massacre on a Baghdad street in 2007 that left 17 Iraqis dead and about 20 wounded. The judge cited misuse of statements made by the guards in his decision, which brought to a sudden halt one of the highest-profile prosecutions to arise from the Iraq war. The shooting at Nisour Square frayed relations between the Iraqi government and the Bush administration and put a spotlight on the growing US reliance on private security contractors in war zones. The guards had been charged with killing 14 Iraqi civilians and wounding 18 others using gunfire and grenades during an unprovoked attack at the busy Baghdad intersection. The guards contended they had been ambushed by insurgents and fired in self-defence. They had faced up to 10 years in jail on each of the 14 manslaughter counts.

See: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/us-judge-dismisses-blackwater-massacre-charges/story-e6frg6so-1225815351876; Iraq ‘to appeal Blackwater verdict’; http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/01/201011101136634433.html