CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., April 21 (UPI) -- U.S. military prosecutors have granted immunity to at least seven Marines linked to the killing of Iraqi civilians, in a move to attract more witnesses.
Eight marines are charged with killing 24 civilians in Haditha, Iraq, or with not thoroughly investigating the Nov. 19, 2005, killings.
The offer of immunity is intended to bolster the prosecution's odds of winning "by enticing more witnesses to testify," The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Saturday.
"Marines are a pretty tight-knit group of people. They don't like testifying against each other," said John Hutson, president and dean of the Franklin Pierce Law Center and a former judge advocate general of the Navy.
An anonymous military source with "knowledge of the case," said the Marines are being given immunity so prosecutors can then order them to testify or face charges. Failure to testify could send them to prison for two years, the newspaper said.