Four former Ex-Blackwater security guards named Paul A. Slough, Dustin L. Heard, Evan S. Liberty, and Nicholas A. Slatten were sentenced to long term imprisonment for killing Iraqi civilians in 2007. Dressed in blue jumpsuits and leg irons, all four stood before a judge on Monday and addressed the public for the first time since the 2007 Baghdad killings.
They were among several private American security guards who fired into a large crowd in Nisour Square on Sept 16, 2007, murdering 14 unarmed Iraqis and wounding 17 others.
“I know for a fact that I will be exonerated, in this life and the next,” said Slough.
“I am very sorry for the loss of life,” Heard said. “But I cannot say in all honesty to the court that I believe I did anything wrong.”
“As God is my witness,” Liberty began. The New York Times noted that he said he only fired at insurgents shooting back at him.
“The verdict is wrong,” said Slatten, former sniper for the Army. “You know I am innocent, sir.”
Judge Royce C. Lamberth sentenced Mr. Slatten to life in prison and 30-year jail terms to remaining three.
Nearly 100 former Blackwater security guards, family members, supporters, and friends gathered in front of the large courtroom, most of them dressed in Blackwater shirts and spoke on behalf of the four convicts.
“These four men have refused to accept virtually any responsibility for their crimes and the blood they shed that day,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Martin said, as quoted by USA Today.