4 Nov 2013

Court martial shown DVD of marine ‘murdering’ Afghan prisoner

The MoD QC told the court martial last week “it will go viral in minutes”. The Home Office terrorism research expert called by the MoD to give evidence last week told the court martial he’d never seen anything like it in terms of it’s potent effect.

It is helmet-camera video filmed by a group of three Royal Marines in Afghanistan as they drag an injured Afghan fighter out of sight of an Apache helicopter and observation balloon, before one of them – Marine A – is apparently seen to lean forward and shoot the injured man through the chest.

US Marines troops of 3rd Battalion, 6th

Today the court heard that Marine A’s defence is that the man was already dead when he shot him so it cannot be murder.

The video clips are the central evidence of the prosecution case summed up today by David Perry QC.

He said Marine A, aged 39 “was directly responsible for the victim’s death in that he used his weapon to kill him. He can be seen (on the DVD shown in court) to lean in before discharging his weapon into the victim’s chest.”

‘Fate was sealed’

Referring to the helmet-camera DVD he said Marine A made it clear any first aid on the injured prisoner was a non-starter:

“A said ‘anyone want to do first aid on this idiot?’ From then on that man’s fate was sealed. That was it. He was to be executed,” Mr Perry told the court martial.

Mr Perry told the court, all three marines charged with murder A, B and C lied in interviews and lied to the court:

“All three now say that A triaged this casualty. None said that in their interviews. That’s because it is a lie, a contrivance got together for this trial.

“A is devoid of human compassion. This man is dehumanised. He is to die.”

Mr Perry detailed how the prosecution say all three marines faked giving first aid because they knew an Apache helicopter over head would relay pictures to the British main base at camp Bastion.

‘No protest’

He said the DVD shows all three talking about moving the man out of sight of the Apache and an observation balloon in order to execute him, and that the video clearly show this.

“Marine B watched the execution without any surprise, no protest, no attempt to look away, no expression of surprise, shock or dismay.”

Mr Perry said both B and C were utterly complicit in the execution.

Tomorrow, three barristers will set out the defence case before the board (jury) of seven men. It is expected the board will retire to consider it’s verdict on late Wednesday or Thursday.

The marines are unusually anonymous because the judge accepts the argument that they could be at risk of reprisal. Should any be convicted, that decision will be reviewed.

And the extraordinary DVD? The judge accepted the MoD argument that the propaganda value for what he called “terrorist groups” outweighs the usual presumption in favour of open justice in Britain.

A number of media organisations are appealing that decision. In the meantime, the judge will rule later this week whether or not still frames from the DVD can be released.

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