Thursday, August 28, 2008
Code of Silence (Part 1)
A FORMER US Marine was acquitted of manslaughter here today in the shooting deaths of unarmed Iraqi prisoners during 2004 fighting in Fallujah.
Jose Luis Nazario, 28, was found not guilty of all charges after a landmark trial at the US District Court at Riverside in California, southeast of Los Angeles.
It was the first time a former serviceman had been tried in a civilian court for actions taken during combat.
Prosecutors told the jury that Mr Nazario had ignored clear rules about how to treat prisoners and ordered the execution-style killing of four "unarmed, submissive, docile" detainees during a house search.
Mr Nazario is alleged to have shot dead two of the captives himself before ordering two subordinates to kill the others.
However the prosecution's case was weakened after the two subordinates - Marines Jermaine Nelson and Ryan Weemer - refused to testify against Mr Nazario last week and were declared in contempt of court.