Thursday, October 20, 2005

Spanish High Court issues arrest warrants for three U.S. soldiers

MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish High Court judge issued international arrest warrants on Wednesday for three U.S. soldiers in connection with the death of a Spanish cameraman during the war in Iraq.

"I order the ... capture and arrest of the U.S. soldiers, with a view to extradition," High Court Judge Santiago Pedraz said in a court document, adding the order would be submitted to the international police organization Interpol.

The three men were named as Sergeant Thomas Gibson, Captain Philip Wolford and Lieutenant Colonel Philip De Camp.

The United States has cleared the men of any blame, although it acknowledges a shell was fired from their tank into the Palestine Hotel where Telecinco cameraman Jose Couso and Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk were killed. A U.S. investigation concluded the men were justified in opening fire.

Three other Reuters staff were seriously injured in the shelling of the hotel, the base for almost all foreign journalists in Baghdad at the time. The incident occurred a day before U.S. troops captured the city.

Pedraz said an investigation had shown the three soldiers involved in the tank attack on April 8, 2003 could be responsible for murder and crimes against the international community.

The charges carry jail sentences of 15 to 20 years and 10 to 15 years respectively.

The judge said he issued the warrants because U.S. authorities had refused to cooperate. The court had twice asked American officials for help, requesting documents and offering to send a legal team to the United States to take statements from the three men.

But neither request had been answered and he said the warrants were "the only effective measure to ensure the accused are made available to Spanish judicial authorities."


Blogger K. Ron Silkwood said...

Well, there's the explanation right there: those were all foreign correspondents. All them furriners look alike to us Merkans. And all them furriners are between us and our oil.

October 21, 2005 5:32 am  

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