Author Topic: US security firm banned from Iraq (Blackwater)  (Read 2636 times)

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Offline bigron

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US security firm banned from Iraq (Blackwater)
« on: January 29, 2009, 12:04:21 pm »
Thursday, January 29, 2009
17:22 Mecca time, 14:22 GMT   
News Middle East

US security firm banned from Iraq 

At least 17 civilians were killed in the shooting in Baghdad's Nisoor Square [AFP]
Blackwater, a US private security firm, has been barred from providing security for US diplomats in Iraq for its alleged involvement in the deaths of at least 17 civilians in 2007.

The Iraqi interior ministry on Thursday said the measure followed the firm's "improper conduct and excessive use of force".

Five former Blackwater guards are awaiting trial in the US for the incident that took place in September 2007.

One Blackwater guard has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and attempt to commit manslaughter over that incident.

A US embassy official in Baghdad and Major General Abdul-Karim Khalaf, an Iraqi interior ministry spokesman, gave no exact exit date for Blackwater employees.

They also did not clarify whether the Blackwater guards would be allowed to continue guarding US diplomats until a date is decided.

"We don't have specifics about dates. We are working with the government of Iraq and our contractors to address the implications of this decision," the US embassy official said.

Immunity stripped

Blackwater employees who have not been implicated in the 2007 shooting incident will be allowed to work with a different employer in Iraq.

The security contracting company deny any misconduct over the shooting.. They say guards opened fire after coming under attack when a car in a US state department convoy broke down in Baghdad's Nisoor Square.

The decision not to renew their contract comes in the wake of a US-Iraqi security agreement approved in November which gives Iraq the right to decide which Western security companies can work in Iraq.

Up until the beginning of this year, Western security contractors enjoyed blanket immunity from Iraqi law. This has since been reversed to allow security contractors to be prosecuted in Iraq.