Sergeant Alexander Blackman’s actions have been described as “shocking and appalling” after he killed a wounded Taliban gunman during a trip to Afghanistan. Lieutenant General Rob Magowan said it was ‘a war crime’
A storm has erupted after the Royal Marines chief branded one of his men a war criminal for killing a wounded Taliban gunman.
Lieutenant General Rob Magowan, commanding general of the Royal Marines, said it was a “shocking and appalling” war crime.
It is believed to be the first time a senior officer has used the term to describe the shooting of Sgt. Alexander Blackman – known as Marine A.
Lieutenant-General Magowan wrote to members of his corps to mark the anniversary of the murder, which he said shattered morale within the Royal Marines.
He said in the letter: “To be clear, the illegal killing of an injured Taliban insurgent in Afghanistan in 2011 by a then Royal Marines sergeant was truly shocking and appalling. This was a war crime inconsistent with the values that underpin the ethos of our Corps.
“No one is aware of the fact that the Marine A incident remains an emotional issue, particularly for those who may be dealing with the mental health impact of her deployment.”
The General said learning from the incident is now embedded in Royal Marine training. He also revealed that a secret account of the murder would never be released.
But one of Sergeant Blackman’s former colleagues lashed out at the remarks.
Guardian / Eyevine)
Ex Sgt. Major Jeff Williams said: “It is very disappointing to see the Chief of the Royal Marines label Sgt Blackman a war criminal.
“This offense was committed at a time when he was mentally ill. He’s not a war criminal, he’s someone who was let down by the system. He was also let down by the chain of command.”
Sgt. Blackman, 47, shot and killed the wounded Taliban fighter in Helmand. He was found guilty of murder in 2013 and sentenced to life in prison.
That was later reduced to eight years and his conviction reduced to manslaughter after the appeals court recognized that Sgt. Blackman suffered from an adjustment disorder.
western daily press)
His wife Claire declined to comment on the general’s letter but confirmed that her husband no longer suffers from a mental illness.
A friend of the couple, who lives in Taunton, Somerset, said: “You are very disappointed with the term war crimes. They just want to get on with their lives now and hold back.”
The Ministry of Defense has been asked for comment.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/royal-marines-head-brands-soldier-27208271 Royal Marines chief names soldier war criminal for killing wounded Taliban gunman - World News