Five US security guards have been charged with killing 14 unarmed civilians and wounding 20 others in Baghdad in September 2007. The men from the Blackwater security firm, were employed to defend US diplomats and claim self- defence
Defence lawyer Brent Hatch claimed: “The department of Justice indictment at this delicate time creates an overwhelming appearance of political influence in an effort to win support in Iraq. This is intolerable.”
However, witnesses maintain that the killings were unprovoked. The charges come following a year long investigation into the shootings that outraged Iraqis and strained US-Iraqi relations.
US Attorney, Jeffrey Taylor made the following statement: “None of the victims of this shooting was armed. None of them was an insurgent. Many were shot while inside civilian vehicles that were attempting to flee from the convoy. One victim was shot in the chest while standing in the street with his hands up. Another was injured from a grenade fired into a nearby girls school.”
The deaths happened as the private security firm’s guards escorted a heavily armed four-truck convoy of US diplomats through Bagdhad. The guards, decorated military veterans, were responding to a car bombing when gunfire broke out.