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Federal Court Tosses Murder Conviction Of Ex-Blackwater Guard In 2007 Iraq Massacre

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Aug 4, 2017 7:20 PM

In a highly unusual decision sure to open old wounds among Iraqis and further prolong an already protracted legal saga, a US appeals court has thrown out the murder conviction of an ex-Blackwater security guard and ordered three co-defendants to be resentenced for their roles in the deadliest incident involving the controversial private security firm to date. The men were responsible for the September 16, 2007 Nisour Square shooting in Baghdad, which killed 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians and wounded 17 others, and threatened to inflame tensions at the height of what was an already bloody and volatile coalition occupation.

On Friday afternoon a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said that Nicholas Slatten should be given a new trial which would allow for fresh testimony concerning his 2014 first-degree murder conviction. Among the four ex-Blackwater employees sentenced in the 2014 trial, Slatten was the only one convicted of murder as it was believed that he fired on the unarmed civilians first. The other three men – Evan Liberty, Paul Slough, and Dustin Heard – were each given 30-years for manslaughter and other related charges (Slatten had been given a life sentence). Friday’s decision also directed that the three men be given new sentences because it deemed the previous 30-year sentences to constitute “cruel and unusual punishment.” However, Iraqi family members of the slain (who in some instances lost children) are sure to disagree.

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