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Blackwater guards get heavy sentences in 2007 Iraq killings

An armoured vehicle belonging to an unidentified private security company escorts a truck near Iskandaria, south of Baghdad, on September 20, 2007A former Blackwater guard was sentenced to life in prison and three others received 30-year sentences Monday for their roles in a 2007 mass shooting in Iraq that left at least 14 civilians dead. The four ex-employees of the US private security firm were convicted last October on an array of charges ranging from first degree murder to voluntary manslaughter stemming from the incident in Baghdad’s Nisour Square. During a two month-trial in US federal court in Washington, a jury heard how the four defendants opened fire with sniper rifles, machine guns and grenade launchers in the bustling square as they escorted a diplomatic convoy. US federal judge Royce Lamberth sentenced Nicholas Slatten, who was accused of firing the first shots, to life in prison on the first-degree murder charge.

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