Alexander Blackman was convicted on 8 November 2013 of murdering a Taliban insurgent in Afghanistan. He has now served two years of a minimum term 8 year to life sentence.
Alexander Blackman had an unblemished career in the Royal Marines for 17 years, serving the Queen, country and it’s people on numerous tours in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Whilst fighting the war in Afghanistan in 2011 Sergeant Blackman was posted to the remote command post Omar, with 15 younger Royal Marines under his command. They lived for more than six months in a small mud enclosure, in appalling conditions of physical discomfort. Daily, they patrolled on foot for up to 10 hours in a large hostile area where the Taliban were most active. IEDs, or improvised explosive devices, the roadside landmines favoured by the Taliban, were a constant threat, to the extent that the troop seldom used their vulnerable Jackal vehicle, preferring to patrol on foot instead. They were aware that hundreds of their comrades had already been killed or maimed by IEDs. The psychological impact was devastating. Firefights with the Taliban were common. So, too, were deaths and life-threatening injuries. Overall, 42 Commando lost seven men, and a further 45 were injured, many of them very seriously indeed.
On 15 September 2011, towards the end of their fraught tour, Sergeant Blackman and his patrol were directed to an insurgent who had been fatally wounded by gunfire from an Apache helicopter. Horribly exposed in a known hotspot for enemy activity, they knew that other insurgents were in the area. They dragged the fatally wounded man to cover. Sergeant Blackman then shot what he believed to be a dead Taliban insurgent who had been shooting at his fellow Royal Marine colleagues minutes earlier. This may be a breach of the Geneva Convention, by desecrating a corpse but it is not murder.
We believe that this is a gross miscarriage of justice. An appeal is currently happening in the Royal Courts of Justice, London between the 7th and 9th February and we urge everyone to support him. If you cannot get there in person a thunderclap will help give you voice.