x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Blackwater guards charged

Five guards in Iraq with the US security firm Blackwater, who were accused of killing 17 Iraqis in 2007, are charged.

Five guards in Iraq with the US security firm Blackwater, who were accused of killing 17 Iraqis in 2007, have been charged, according to US media. The charges, which were lodged against them on Thursday, were not immediately known as prosecutors wanted to delay making them public until Monday, according to several US news sources. The charges may include manslaughter and assault. But an Iraqi investigation into the case had called the killings premeditated murder. Meanwhile, a sixth guard in the same case was working on a plea deal with prosecutors, the reports said. A spokesman for the US Justice Department would neither confirm nor deny the reports on Saturday. On Sept 16 2007, Blackwater guards shot dead 17 Iraqi civilians and injured some 20 others while escorting an American diplomatic convoy through Baghdad. The firm says its guards were acting in self-defence. Iraq has said it reserves the right to put on trial the six guards for their alleged role in the killings. *AFP