US soldiers face charges over journalist's death

22nd May 2009, Comments 0 comments

A 2003 murder charge against three US soldier who shelled a Baghdad hotel killing a Spanish journalist has been reopened.

Madrid – A Spanish judge on Thursday revived murder charges against three US soldiers over the killing a Spanish television cameraman during the shelling of a Baghdad hotel in 2003.

The same judge, Santiago Pedraz, had thrown out the charges one year ago, citing "insufficient evidence" of deliberate intent on the part of the three to target civilians inside the hotel where journalists were known to be staying.

But Perez on Thursday cited new evidence, including reports by experts and from a former US soldier, for his decision to revive the charges.

"There are reasonable indications to believe" that the three soldiers were responsible, he said in his ruling.

Pedraz ordered the charges against the three soldiers in April 2007.

Sergeant Thomas Gibson, Captain Philip Wolford and Lieutenant Colonel Philip de Camp are accused in connection with the tank shelling of the Hotel Palestine on 8 April, 2003.

Jose Couso, who worked for private Spanish private television station Telecinco, died in the incident.

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

Judge Pedraz had argued at the time that the soldiers "knew that the Palestine Hotel (like the zone in which it was situated) was occupied by civilians."

A US inquiry carried out in 2004 found no fault or negligence on the part of US troops.

AFP / Expatica

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