Spain drops charges against US soldiers

15th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

Spain's criminal court threw out murder charges against US soldiers over the death of a Spanish television cameraman.

Madrid – Spain's top criminal court on Tuesday threw out murder charges against three US soldiers over the death of a Spanish television cameraman during the shelling of a Baghdad hotel in 2003.

A three-judge panel of the National Court sided with an appeal that public prosecutors had lodged against the case against the three soldiers that was opened in May by judge Santiago Pedraz. The decision is not subject to appeal.

Sergeant Thomas Gibson, Captain Philip Wolford and Lieutenant Colonel Philip de Camp were accused in connection with the tank shelling of the Hotel Palestine on 8 April, 2003 that killed Jose Couso, who worked for private Spanish private television station Telecinco.

Another cameraman, Ukrainian Taras Protsyuk, also died while three other staff members of the Reuters news agency were wounded.

Pedraz had argued at the time that the soldiers knew that the Palestine Hotel and the area where it was located was occupied by civilians.

Washington has maintained that the soldiers acted appropriately in circumstances of war. A US inquiry carried out in 2004 found no fault or negligence on the part of US troops.

AFP / Expatica

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