Marine faces suspended term for killing

4th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

4 October 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The public prosecutor demanded a six-month suspended military detention sentence and a 240-hour work order against Dutch marine Erik O. on Monday on charges he breached military orders in Iraq last year. But defence lawyer Gert Jan Knoops demanded that the prosecution's case be thrown out. He claimed O.'s rights had been violated so much, he should never have been prosecuted.

4 October 2004

AMSTERDAM — The public prosecutor demanded a six-month suspended military detention sentence and a 240-hour work order against Dutch marine Erik O. on Monday on charges he breached military orders in Iraq last year.
 
But defence lawyer Gert Jan Knoops demanded that the prosecution's case be thrown out. He claimed O.'s rights had been violated so much, he should never have been prosecuted.

The 43-year-old sergeant major is accused of breaching military orders in Iraq on 27 December. He allegedly shot and killed an Iraqi man — identified as Abdullah Moushar Aadhafa, 32 — with a warning shot during a looting incident near the city As Samawah.

The prosecution only demanded the suspended sentence due to the negative publicity around the case, Dutch public news service NOS reported. MPs and military unions have previously condemned the arrest.

But according to the prosecution, O. consciously fired into a group of Iraqi citizens, knowing that he was taking a great risk and therefore should not have fired his weapon. "There was no life or death situation," the prosecution asserted.

The prosecution also said the victim was an innocent passer-by who was not involved in the looting of the truck container. Dutch troops deployed to the area to maintain law and order did not face any threat, the prosecution claimed.

But O. has told the military chamber of Arnhem Court that there was a life threatening situation because his troops could have been overrun by the Iraqis, despite witness statements saying they were not armed.

He also denied breaching military orders of violent engagement and is not 100 percent certain whether he actually shot the Iraqi.

O. was arrested on 31 December and flown home to the Netherlands on charges of murder or manslaughter, but released a week later due to a lack of evidence. Lawyer Knoops told the court that the defendant's rights had thus been violated.

The lawyer said the prosecution should not have arrested O. on such serious allegations, claiming there was no legal basis for the charges. The prosecution acted carelessly as the investigation had only just begun, the lawyer said.

The court will hand down its ruling in two weeks.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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