Photo above: former Blackwater security guards, from left: Paul A. Slough, Dustin L. Heard, Nicholas A. Slatten and Evan S. Liberty
Reuters News Posted Mon., Apr.13, 2015
A federal judge sentenced four former Blackwater security guards to lengthy prison terms on Monday in the 2007 massacre of 14 unarmed Iraqis, closing a chapter of the U.S. war in Iraq that tested relations between the two countries.
Nicholas Slatten was sentenced to life in prison for his murder conviction in the killings at a Baghdad traffic circle.
U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth sentenced three other former Blackwater guards, convicted of manslaughter in the killings, to 30 years each.
The four guards opened fire with machine guns and grenade launchers on the unarmed Iraqi civilians, including women and children, at Nisur Square on Sept. 16, 2007. A heavily armed, four-truck Blackwater Worldwide convoy had been trying to clear a path for U.S. diplomats.
In addition to the killings, at least 17 Iraqis were injured.
Slatten was convicted in October, along with ex-guards Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard.
North Carolina-based Blackwater was sold and renamed several times. It is now called Academi, based in northern Virginia.
Reuters Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir; Writing by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Doina Chiacu Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/13/us-usa-blackwater-sentence-idUSKBN0N425320150413
Last Resort Efforts To Halt Execution Of 42yr Old Black American.
PRESS TV Posted Mon., Apr.13, 2015
Efforts are underway in the US to halt execution of an African American in St. Louis County, the jurisdiction that covers Ferguson, where unarmed African American Michael Brown was shot dead last summer by a white cop who walked free.
The county expects execution of 42-year-old Andre Cole who will be killed by lethal injection at 6 pm local time on Tuesday following his conviction by an all-white jury.
Elimination of all three potential black jurors has prompted activists to denounce Missouri’s jury selection process, calling on Governor Jay Nixon to halt the execution.
The organizations that pursue the matter include Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
“This is a national problem,” Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the ACLU office in St. Louis told the Associated Press on Monday. “The criminal justice system in this country is unfair. It targets persons of color. It treats the African-American community differently.”
One of the black candidates was removed from the jury poll because he was divorced while a white juror was not eliminated even though he was paying child support, Mittman said.
Joseph Luby, Cole’s attorney, has filed three appeals with the US Supreme Court with one claiming that his client suffers from psychosis.
“He hears voices over the TV, over the prison intercom, everywhere,” Luby said. “He believes that Governor Nixon, St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch and others are giving him messages about his case.”
Contrary to Luby’s remarks, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled last week that Cole was competent for execution.
Ferguson became scene of protests after a grand jury’s decision not to charge 28-year-old Darren Wilson for killing Brown.
The protests, which turned nationwide, slammed brutality and racial profiling by police in the United States.