Judge dismisses charges in Blackwater shooting of 17 Iraqis

McClatchy NewspapersDecember 31, 2009 

WASHINGTON — A U.S. district judge dismissed all charges Thursday against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards who were accused of killing 17 Iraqi civilians in a crowded Baghdad intersection in 2007.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina said government prosecutors erred by using sworn statements from people who'd been granted immunity to build their case. The dismissal can be appealed.

The Iraqi government wanted the guards to face trial in Iraq, where Blackwater had been accused in a variety of incidents of using excessive force.

The 17 Iraqis were killed when Blackwater guards guarding a State Department convoy opened fire, apparently without provocation. Blackwater guards claimed they'd come under fire. But interviews with witnesses and surveillance video showed no other shots were fired.

Read Judge Urbina's ruling (PDF)

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