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Blackwater Guards Sentenced for Killings in Baghdad in 2007

Image: Blackwater Guards Sentenced for Killings in Baghdad in 2007
This combination made from file photo shows Blackwater guards, from left, Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty, Nicholas Slatten and Paul Slough. (AP Photo)

By    |   Tuesday, 14 Apr 2015 11:15 AM

Four former Blackwater guards were given prison sentences on Monday for killing 14 unarmed Iraqis during a shooting in Baghdad’s crowded Nisour Square on Sept. 16, 2007.

According to The Wall Street Journal, sniper Nicholas Slatten, convicted of murder, was given a life sentence for firing the first shots that set off the chaotic incident. Manslaughter convicts Evan Liberty, Dustin Heard, and Paul Slough received 30-year sentences.

Lawyers for the men said they intend to appeal the ruling.

The four defendants spoke for the first time during the lengthy legal proceedings.

"The verdict is wrong," Slatten told District Court Judge Royce Lamberth. "You know I am innocent, sir."

"I know for a fact that I will be exonerated, in this life and the next," said Slough.

The family of the victims also spoke.

"Your decision today helps everyone to be human, to be fair and equal," said the father of the 9-year-old boy Slatten was accused of killing, Mohammed Kinani. "I want to see these people in jail to teach the other people a lesson, to show them what the law is."

"Your honor, Mr. Kinani, I could not and I did not kill your son," Slatten said in his own statement.

After weighing the prior records of the convicted men, which were clean, and after weighing the outpouring of support from friends and relatives of the men who testified on their behalf, the judge seemed to offer leniency in their sentences.

Government prosecutors had sought prison sentences of 47 to 57 years, however they were each given 30.

"The outpouring here for support from family and friends is extraordinary," said judge Lamberth. "These defendants appear to be good young men."

"The overall wild thing that went on here just cannot be condoned by the court," the judge added.

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Four former Blackwater guards were given prison sentences on Monday for killing 14 unarmed Iraqis during a shooting in Baghdad’s crowded Nisour Square on Sept. 16, 2007.
blackwater, guards, sentenced, killings, baghdad
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2015-15-14
Tuesday, 14 Apr 2015 11:15 AM
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