Newswatch | Newswatch

You are here

Spain wants three US soldiers for death of journalist in Iraq

Spain wants three US soldiers for death of journalist in Iraq
Cameraman José Couso was one of two journalists killed when the US soldiers — members of a tank crew — responded to what they said was hostile fire from a Baghdad hotel that housed Western journalists during the invasion of Iraq.

A Madrid judge reissued arrest warrants Thursday for three US servicemen over the death of a Spanish journalist killed by American tank fire in Iraq in 2003.

Judge Santiago Pedraz acted in response to a recent order from the Spanish Supreme Court that the case — twice shelved by a lower court — be reopened.

Cameraman José Couso was one of two journalists killed when the US soldiers — members of a tank crew — responded to what they said was hostile fire from a Baghdad hotel that housed Western journalists during the invasion of Iraq.
The soldiers — Sgt Shawn Gibson, Capt Philip Wolford and Lt Col Philip DeCamp — were all from the US 3rd Infantry Division, based in Fort Stewart, Georgia, and have never appeared in Spain in connection with the case.

Following the incident, then-US Secretary of State Colin Powell said American troops had opened fire after encountering hostile fire from the hotel, perhaps from a sniper. He said a US review of the incident found the use of force was justified.

In his order Thursday, Pedraz also requested permission from a Spanish judicial oversight board to travel to Iraq and view the site where Couso and Reuters cameraman Taras Portsyuk were killed.

“We welcome the supreme court decision that relaunched the investigation into Couso’s death,” Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) said. “It is high time the case emerged from the judicial labyrinth in which it has been lost for years. If Sgt Thomas Gibson, Capt Philip Wolford and Lt Col Philip de Camp were questioned in court, it could shed light on the unanswered questions surrounding this case.”

RSF said, “We urge the US authorities to respect the request being made by the Spanish court and the Couso family. After a seven-year wait, the family’s need to know the truth about his death is greater than ever.”

Date posted: August 2, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 349