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December 20, 2013

Two Royal Marine Commandos acquitted of murdering Afghan insurgent named

By Darren Boyle

Two Marines cleared of murdering an Afghan insurgent in September 2011 have been named by the High Court following an application by media organisations.

Corporal Christopher Glyn Watson and Marine Jack Alexander Hammond known previously as Marine A and Marine B were acquitted by a Court Martial in November.

Their colleague Sgt Alexander Wayne Blackman, 39, was convicted of murder and will serve at least ten years of a life sentence in a civilian prison.

An earlier High Court ruling upheld the Judge Advocate General’s decision but put a stay on releasing the names in case both men wished to challenge the ruling in the Supreme Court.

Watson and Hammond had until Thursday evening to appeal to the Supreme Court a decision by the Judge Advocate General to release their names to the public.

Court authorities confirmed than neither men lodged an application and as a result their names were made public.

Two further men, Marines D and E, still await a final decision whether their names should be released to the public. Charges against both men were discontinued. It is understood they are being allowed the right to challenge an order naming them by the Judge Advocate General.

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During the trial process, The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph and the Daily Mail have all sought the release of additional material.

Footage of the killing was recorded on a helmet camera worn by Watson. He later downloaded the video onto a laptop.

Media organisations had initially sought the release of the actual murder footage but this was blocked as it could provide useful propaganda to terrorist organisations.

Instead a series of still images were released, none of which showed the victim.

Blackman was found guilty at a court martial in Bulford Wiltshire of murdering the wounded Afghan insurgent.

The victim had been seriously injured following a strafing run by an Apache gunship.

After shooting the Afghan in the chest, Blackman told Watson and Hammond: “Obviously this doesn’t go anywhere fellas. I just broke the Geneva convention.”

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