Victims of Blackwater Crimes in Iraq Condemn Overturning of Murder Conviction

Victims of Blackwater Crimes in Iraq Condemn Overturning of Murder Conviction

Victims and relatives of those slain or injured in the mass 2007 killing of unarmed Iraqi civilians by Blackwater contractors in Baghdad told RT they are outraged by the recent overturning of a murder conviction by a US court for the chief perpetrator.
Last week, the US Court of Appeals in the DC circuit ordered a retrial of former Blackwater guard Nicholas Slatten, saying in its ruling that the court was acting beyond its discretion when it did not allow for a separate trial of Slatten. In 2014, Slatten and three other paid gunmen – Paul Slough, Dustin Heard and Evan Liberty – were found guilty in the 2007 massacre of civilians in Nisour Square in Baghdad, RT reported.
Fourteen people died in the incident and scores were injured after the guards opened fire.
Jassim Mohammad Hashim, who was shot in the head during the incident, told RT Arabic that he was shocked when he heard the news of the court mulling to drop the murder conviction.
“It’s absolutely unacceptable that these people have been released. If they are guilty, how could they have been freed? We have all the proof that they are guilty,” Hashim said, adding that due to the severity of his injury he almost completely lost his ability to work and was forced to quit his job.
Hashim was a postal worker in 2007. He said he was carrying mail to a police station when the Blackwater guards started to “fire randomly at unarmed civilians.” At one point during the attack, he approached one of armored vehicles with which Blackwater barricaded the road and was shot in the head.
As he regained consciousness, he managed to reach a police station and told officers about the circumstances of the incident.
“I only remember that people who committed this crime were from Blackwater. Such a crime is impossible to forget…They [Blackwater guards] are criminals, they killed people,” he added.
The guards, meanwhile, insist they were acting in self-defense, despite multiple witnesses saying that the fire was unprovoked.
Blackwater, the private mercenary army, operated during the US invasion in Iraq as part of the occupational authorities. After it gained notoriety following the 2007 bloodshed, Blackwater was rebranded Xe Services in 2009. In 2011, it changed the name once again for Academi.


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