Five Royal Marines charged with murder
Following stints with Reuters and the Press Association, Martin Hickman joined The Independent as a news editor in 2001. He became the Consumer Affairs Correspondent in September 2005 and has run the paper's trenchant campaigns on packaging, bank charges and factory-farmed chicken. He writes on subjects as diverse as food, finance, energy and fashion. With Tom Watson, he is author of a new book on the phone hacking scandal, Dial M for Murdoch - News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain.
Sunday 14 October 2012
Five Royal Marines have been charged with murdering a Taliban fighter in one of the most lawless regions of Afghanistan.
The Ministry of Defence announced the charges today as military police continued to investigate the death of the “insurgent” in Helmand Province last year.
Royal Military Police arrested seven Marines on Thursday and two more on Friday and Saturday over what has been described as “an engagement with an insurgent”, which did not involve any civilians.
The arrests followed the discovery of what the Independent revealed on Friday to have been footage showing a group of Marines in discussion about whether to provide medical aid to an injured Afghan lying on the ground. The material had been found on a laptop during a separate investigation into pornographic material.
Four of the men have been released without charge pending further inquiries, while the others have been remanded in custody where they are likely to remain until being tried at a military court in the UK.
All the arrested men were with 42 Commando Royal Marines. At the time of the insurgent's death, they had been part of 3 Commando Brigade's fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan.
They were taking part in Operation Herrick 14, in the districts of Nahr-e-Seraj and Nad-e-Ali. Under Brigadier Ed Davis, the operation had some notable successes but seven Marines - all from 42 Commando - were killed in action.
Rules of engagement, based on the Geneva Convention, dictate the circumstances under which British forces are allowed to open fire on the Taliban.
The arrests are thought to be the first time any UK service personnel in Afghanistan have been charged with murder.
In a brief statement, the MoD said: “The RMP has referred the cases of the remaining five Royal Marines to the independent Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA). Following direction from the SPA these marines have now been charged with murder and they remain in custody pending court proceedings.”
The Ministry of Defence said the court martial would be overseen by a civilian judge advocate and determined by a panel of between three and eight Armed Forces officers. The MoD said sentences in military courts for murder were similar to those in civilian courts.
Philip Hammond, the Secretary of State for the Defence, said he was determined that the rules of engagement were followed in Afghanistan, telling the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: “Everybody serving in theatre knows the rules of engagement, they carry cards in their uniforms with the rules on them in case they should need to remind themselves.”
Saying he could not comment on the specific case, he added: “We are very determined that rules of engagement will be followed, that any abuse will be dealt with through the normal processes of service justice and that is happening now.”
Website users raised funds after Jennifer Lawrence nude photo leak
Emma Watson on Jennifer Lawrence nude photo leak: 'Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated is reading the comments'
Jessica Brown Findlay: Downton Abbey actress is linked to list of celebrities targeted by hackers
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say representatives
Steven Sotloff 'beheading': British captive shown in Isis video which claims to show death of second US journalist
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
- 1 David Sedaris: What I learnt from Fitbit about the world around me
- 2 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Cee Lo Green: 'It's only rape if the victim is conscious'
- 5 Katie Hopkins in tears over weight gain challenge: ‘I hate fat people for making me do this’