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Spanish judge orders arrest of US soldiers for killing of journalists in Iraq

[JURIST] Spanish High Court Judge Santiago Pedraz on Wednesday issued an international arrest warrant for three US soldiers from the 3rd Infantry, Sgt. Thomas Gibson, Capt. Philip Wolford and Lt. Col. Philip de Camp, over the death of a Spanish cameraman during the war in Iraq. Pedraz ordered the arrest of the soldiers with the plan of extraditing them to Spain. The three soldiers' tank fired on the Hotel Palestine in Baghdad in 2003, killing Spanish Telecinco cameraman Jose Couso [Guardian report] and Ukrainian Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk. Three other journalists were also injured in the attack. Pedraz said he issued the warrant because US officials had failed to cooperate in an investigation into the incident and did not respond to requests [JURIST report] to question the soldiers. A US investigation into the shooting concluded that the soldiers were justified [Reporters Without Borders report] in firing on the hotel and did not pursue any charges against the soldiers. Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the use of force had been justified on review of the incident. Spanish prosecutors are expected to appeal Pedraz's decision on Thursday on the grounds that Pedraz lacked jurisdiction to seek extradition of the soldiers. From Madrid, El Mundo has local coverage [in Spanish]. Reuters has more.

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