The Iraqi government and public were in disbelief and anger by the news of all criminal charges had been dismissed against Blackwater security guards in the United States, on an incident that occurred in Iraq on 2007 and led to 17 unarmed civilians from being killed.
The Iraqi government and public were in disbelief and anger by the news of all criminal charges had been dismissed against 5 Blackwater guards in the United States, on an incident that occurred in Iraq on 2007 and led to 17 unarmed civilians being killed.
Abdul Wahab Adul Khader said “What are we — not human? Why do they have the right to kill people? Is our blood so cheap? For America, the land of justice and law, what does it mean to let criminals go?” The 34 year old bank employee was wounded in the attacks.
The problem with the court case, according to the federal judge who issued the ruling, was that statements given by the five Blackwater guards had been improperly used, compromising their right to a fair trial.
The judge, Ricardo M. Urbina, threw out manslaughter and weapons charges against the guards on Thursday, ruling that the case had been improperly built, in part, on sworn statements that they had given to the State Department under the promise of immunity.
The case which saw much interest from the Iraqi public and was excepted as a case that tested the American democratic principles, which have not been wholeheartedly embraced, and in particular of the fairness of the American judicial system.
Many people said that the case should have been an open-and-close case as the victims had been shot while they were running away.
“I can’t even think of words to say,” said Sami Hawas, 45, a taxi driver who was shot in the back during the episode and is paralyzed.
“We have been waiting for so long,” he added. “I still have bullets in my back. I cannot even sit like an ordinary human being.”
Ali Khalaf, a traffic police officer who was on duty in Nisour Square at the time and aided some of the victims, was furious.
“I ask you,” he said, “if this had happened to Americans, what would be the result? But these were Iraqis.”
But Gen. Ray Odierno, the American commander in Iraq, on Friday called the ruling “a lesson in the rule of law” despite his worry that “there were innocent people killed during this attack.”
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“Of course people are not going to like it because they believe these individuals conducted some violence and should be punished for it,” he said. “But the bottom line is, using the rule of law, the evidence obviously was not there, or was collected illegally.”
The Blackwater guards said they believed that they had come under small-arms fire from insurgents when they began firing machine guns, grenade launchers and a sniper rifle in Nisour Square, a busy Baghdad traffic intersection. But investigators concluded that the guards, who were escorting American diplomats, had indiscriminately fired in an unprovoked and unjustified assault.