US soldiers indicted in death of Spanish journalist in Iraq

[JURIST] Three US soldiers were indicted Friday for the 2003 death of a Spanish reporter who was killed when their tank fired a shell at a Baghdad hotel. A Spanish judge charged Sgt. Shawn Gibson, Capt. Philip Wolford and Lt. Col. Philip DeCamp [TrialWatch profiles] with homicide and "a crime against the international community" in the death of Jose Couso [advocacy website, English version], a cameraman for Spanish TV network Telecinco [media website, in Spanish]. In 2003, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell said the soldiers only fired in self-defense after shots were fired at them from the hotel. A US review of the incident found they did not act improperly. Spain has issued several arrest warrants [JURIST report] against the three, but the United States has refused to extradite them. AP has more.

The three are not the first US soldiers to be indicted in foreign courts for actions taken in Iraq. Earlier this month, US Army Spc. Mario Lozano was put on trial in absentia before an Italian court [JURIST report] for the murder of Italian intelligence agent Nicola Calipari and attempted murders of agent Andrea Carpani and Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena in Iraq. The US has maintained that the car carrying Calipari did not slow down at a military checkpoint and that Lozano followed proper procedure in opening fire.

 

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