British Marine sergeant gets life for killing in Afghanistan

Dec. 6, 2013 at 8:30 PM   |   0 comments

COLCHESTER, England, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- A sergeant in the British Royal Marines was given a life sentence with no release for at least 10 years for killing a suspected insurgent in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Alexander Blackman, who spent 15 years as a Marine, was also sentenced to be "dismissed with disgrace from her majesty's service," The Guardian reported. He was immediately taken into custody and was expected to be transferred Monday to a civilian prison in Essex.

Judge Jeff Blackett, who served on the military tribunal that convicted Blackman, described his behavior on a video of the killing as "matter of fact and chilling." Blackett suggested Blackman's actions put British soldiers in danger by giving the Taliban propaganda fodder.

"You treated that Afghan man with contempt and murdered him in cold blood," Blackett said. "By doing so you have betrayed your corps and all the British service personnel who have served in Afghanistan and you have tarnished their reputation."

Anthony Berry, Blackman's lawyer, argued for leniency. He said Blackman, who had spent three tours in Afghanistan and two in Iraq, was in the "most dangerous square mile in Afghanistan" at the time of the killing in 2011 and was under stress both as a soldier and from the recent death of his father.

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