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Ex-Blackwater Contractor Sent to Life in Iraq Shootings



WASHINGTON (AP) – A former Blackwater security contractor has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in the 2007 shooting of unarmed civilians in Iraq that left 14 people dead. of friends and relatives have pleaded guilty to Nicholas Slatten, who was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury in December.

Prosecutors charge that Slatten, of Sparta, Tennessee, was the first to shoot shots of September 2007 Iraqi civilians in a tight traffic circle in Baghdad. In all, 10 men, two girls and two boys, ages 9 and 11, died.

The defense argued that Slatten and other Blackwater contractors had just opened fire after finding what they thought was a potential suicide in a moving car bomb

The lawyer of defense Dane Butswinkas described Slatten as "a man of integrity" whose family members served in the United States military for four generations. to put public opinion in Iraq. The shootings have tightened US-Iraqi relations and have focused intense international investigations into the widespread use of private military contractors in Iraq. which was part of a four-vehicle convoy protecting State Department personnel in the area. An appeals court overturned that conviction, saying Slatten should have been tried separately from three other men.

Slatten was reiterated last summer, but an error was declared after a jury could not reach a joint verdict. A subsequent jury convicted him of murder in December 201

8.

Slatten's father, Darrell, stopped responding to a judge who spoke directly to his son, who sat largely unpunished. in a beige jail cell.

"Nick, please accept my apologies for what your country has done to you," he said. "We will fight until hell freezes to rectify the tragedy of justice." Happened in Baghdad 12 years ago.

"This is a miscarriage of justice and it will not stand," he said.

But Judge Lambert, in passing the life sentence, dismissed most of the family's claims that Slatten was a showbiz for in international political considerations.

"The jury got it right," he said. "It was murder."


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