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Entertainment The best family movies to watch together

21:31  31 july  2022
21:31  31 july  2022 Source:   cinemablend.com

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Channel 4 is set to air a new documentary on Sunday, July 31 - War and Justice: The Case of Marine A, which tells the story of Alexander Blackman, who was the first British soldier to be convicted of murder on a foreign battlefield since World War II.

Known simply as Marine A before an anonymity order was lifted, Blackman was originally sentenced to life in prison after killing an injured Afghan insurgent in 2011, which was recorded by a fellow Marine's helmet camera.

The new documentary will feature never-before-seen footage and an interview with Blackman himself, which details "one of the most controversial events in the 20-year war on terror". But what exactly happened to Marine A and where is he now?

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Alexander Blackman, formally called Marine A, was the first British soldier to be convicted of murder on a foreign battlefield since World War II. Whilst serving with the Royal Marines during the War in Afghanistan in September 2011, Blackman shot a wounded Taliban fighter in the Helmand Province.

Alexander Blackman was released in 2017 © PA Alexander Blackman was released in 2017

Blackman and his team had found the Afghan insurgent when they were sent to examine an area targeted by an Apache helicopter. A court document has revealed that the wounded insurgent was armed with a "high explosive grenade" and "an AK47" but "was no threat to anyone".

The insurgent was then dragged across a field and shot by Blackman at close range in the chest, with him saying the words: "Shuffle off this mortal coil, you c**t. It's nothing you wouldn't do to us." The incident had all been filmed on a fellow marine's helmet-mounted camera.

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In October 2012, Blackman and four other marines (named Marines B-E) were charged with the murder of the Afghan insurgent after the footage came to light. Whilst the charges against Marines D and E were dropped, Marines A (Blackman), B and C pleaded not guilty and in October 2012, an interim order prohibiting the identification of all five Marines was made on the grounds that there was "a real and immediate risk to their lives".

In November 2013, the Board of the Court Martial found Marine A guilty of murder but acquitted Marines B and C. The Board findings revealed: "Having removed his AK47, magazines and a grenade, [Marine A] caused him to be moved to a place where [Marine A] wanted to be out of sight of your operational Headquarters at Shazad so that, to quote what [Marine A] said: 'PGSS can't see what we're doing to him.'"

"[Marine A] intended to kill him and that shot certainly hastened his death. He then told his patrol they were not to say anything about what had just happened and [he] acknowledged what [he] had done by saying that [he] had just broken the Geneva Convention. The tone and calmness of [his] voice as [he] commented after [he] had shot him were matter-of-fact and in that respect they were chilling."

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Claire Blackman with a cardboard cutout of her husband © BIRMINGHAM POST AND MAIL Claire Blackman with a cardboard cutout of her husband

In December of that year, the High Court lifted the anonymity order that prevented Blackman from being identified, with Blackman being sentenced to life in prison. The other Marines were acquitted and returned to their units to continue serving in the Royal Marines.

In May 2014, the Court Martial Appeal Court upheld Blackman's life sentence but reduced his minimum term to 10 years. This was due to Blackman having "an outstanding service record" and "the effects on him from the nature of the conflict in Afghanistan" the most serious of which being "stress", according to the judgment.

A lot of people called for Alexander Blackman's freedom © BIRMINGHAM POST AND MAIL A lot of people called for Alexander Blackman's freedom

Blackman, who will feature in the new Channel 4 documentary, has since been released from prison. In March 2017, the Court Martial Appeal Court reduced Blackman's conviction to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, with it being revealed at the hearing that Blackman had a "recognised mental illness" at the time of the shooting. He was released from prison on April 28, 2017. A petition, set up by his wife Claire, was previously signed by over 13,000 people, requesting his release.

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Following his eventual release, Claire told BBC Radio 4: “There are huge lessons to be learned from this case in so many aspects … I feel my husband had very little support out on the ground.”

Claire Blackman believed that her husband had © PA Claire Blackman believed that her husband had

Since his release, Blackman has written an autobiography entitled: Marine A: The Truth about the Murder Conviction. He has also made TV appearances on programmes such as Lorraine and Good Morning Britain. Channel 4's newest documentary will see Blackman make a further rare interview about the incident that took place in 2011.

War and Justice: The Case of Marine A airs on Channel 4 at 9pm on Friday, July 31

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