Blackwater four 'shot dead Iraqi civilians'

Published August 28th, 2014 - 07:09 GMT

A US prosecutor says four former Blackwater Worldwide security guards, who were put on trial in the US months ago over the 2007 killings, shot dead unarmed Iraqi civilians, including women and children.

The guards "took something that didn't belong to them, the lives of 14 human beings," Attorney Anthony Asuncion told a federal court in Washington on Wednesday.

At the culmination of a two-and-a-half-month trial, Asuncion asked what had motivated the contractors to massacre the 14 Iraqis about seven years ago in Baghdad.

"Why fire on so many innocent people? Why? Why shoot all of these people who are running away, who are trying to get away from these (four) men? Why shoot women and children who are unarmed?" he asked. "There's no reason. What they did was criminal.”

There were "no insurgents, no AK-47s, just people seeking shelter from these men," Asuncion said, pointing to the defendants who sat in the courtroom.

"People who could laugh, who could love, were turned into bloodied, bullet-riddled corpses, people who were not legitimate targets... who were no real threat to them," he stated.

Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Dustin Heard and Nicholas Slatten were in the court.

The Blackwater employees had been charged with killing 14 Iraqi civilians and wounding 18 others using gunfire and grenades on September 16, 2007 in the Iraqi capital.

Blackwater Worldwide, which is now known as Academi and is based in McLean, Virginia, is the most notorious private security firm that had operated in Iraq.

Many Iraqis believe the US military allowed Blackwater mercenaries to commit numerous war crimes against their compatriots with impunity.


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