Ex-Blackwater guards jailed over 2007 Iraq killings
Four former Blackwater guards have been jailed for the killing of 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007.
Nicholas Slatten has been sentenced to life in prison and three others to 30 years.
They were convicted last year for the killings in Baghdad’s crowded Nisoor Square.
A further 17 Iraqis were injured as the private contractors opened fire to clear the way for a US convoy.
The shootings sparked international outrage and a debate over the role of defense contractors in warfare.
Nicholas Slatten faced a charge of murder, while the other men faced multiple counts of manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and using firearms while committing a felony.
In a court in Washington DC, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were all sentenced to 30 years in prison for their involvement in the killings.
The men had claimed that they were under fire from insurgents but prosecutors successfully argued what happened was an unprovoked ambush against civilians.
Dozens of victims and witness were flown from Iraq to the US for the trial.
Video monitors in the courtroom showed photos of the dead and wounded and images of cars shot at and blown up with grenade launchers fired by the guards.
Mohammad Kinani Al-Razzaq’s nine-year-old son Ali was killed in the attack.
A picture of the boy smiling was shown on court monitors as Kinani Al-Razzaq said: “What’s the difference between these criminals and terrorists?”
The sentences were announced following a day-long hearing in which the defendants reaffirmed their innocence and their lawyers unsuccessfully argued for leniency.
Prosecutors argued that the sentences be made even harsher because the ex-guards had never expressed any remorse.