Royal Marine found guilty of ‘executing’ Afghan insurgent

Marine identified only as A is convicted of murdering wounded man in Helmand province in 2011, while two others are cleared

A Royal Marine has been found guilty of murdering a badly wounded suspected insurgent in Afghanistan.

A court martial board in Bulford, Wiltshire, acquitted two other marines of the murder of the seriously injured man in Helmand province in September 2011.

The three marines, identified only as A, B and C, were accused of murdering a badly wounded suspected insurgent in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in September 2011.

Marine A, an experienced sergeant, who pulled the trigger, was found guilty by the board. Marines B and C, who were both on their first overseas deployment, were also charged with murder on the basis that they assisted and encouraged him, but were cleared.

The prosecution alleged the incident amounted to an “execution” of a man who was hors de combat – out of the fight – and should have been treated with respect and dignity. Its case centred on a shocking video – captured on a head camera worn by Marine B – that showed the insurgent being dragged roughly from a field after he had been injured in an air strike from a British helicopter.

Members of the eight-man patrol are heard abusing him and laughing at him.

Marine C, the youngest of the accused men, is heard saying: “I’ll put one in his head if you want.” There is laughter and Marine A replies: “No, not in his head ’cause that’ll be fucking obvious.”

Bleeding and moaning, the man is dropped at the edge of the field in Helmand. C says: “Maybe we should pump one in his heart.”

The prosecution at the military court in Bulford claimed the marines waited for the Apache helicopter to leave the scene so their actions would not be seen. Marine A then leans over and shoots the insurgent in the chest with a pistol before telling him: “There you are, shuffle off this mortal coil, you cunt. It’s nothing you wouldn’t do to us.”

A few moments later A is picked up telling colleagues: “Obviously this doesn’t go anywhere fellas. I’ve just broken the Geneva convention.” Marine B laughs and suggests that if the round was heard they claim it was a warning shot.

The video was found by chance a year later when one clip was found on another marine’s laptop during an unrelated investigation. Military SIB (special investigation branch) officers subsequently found a diary kept by Marine C in which he wrote he had been disappointed not to shoot the man.

The prosecution had been prepared to release the video – with the marines’ and victim’s faces pixelated – but the government successfully argued it would have been an ideal recruiting tool for extremists and could prompt “lone wolves” to attack British troops or civilians.

In addition the three marines were granted anonymity because the judge advocate general, Jeff Blackett, who oversaw the trial, agreed their lives would be at risk if their identities were known. …read more