British guard gets life for killing colleagues in Iraq | World| Breakings news and perspectives from around the globe | DW | 28.02.2011
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British guard gets life for killing colleagues in Iraq

An Iraqi court has sentenced a British security guard to life in prison for the 2009 shooting death of two colleagues. The guard claimed he was acting in self-defense.

British security contractor Danny Fitzsimons

Fitzsimons could have faced the death penalty

An Iraqi criminal court has sentenced British security guard Danny Fitzsimons to life in prison for the murder of two of his colleagues in Baghdad.

Fitzsimons, 30, was convicted of shooting an Australian and a British contractor and attempting to kill an Iraqi guard in 2009. Under Iraqi law, he could have faced the death penalty.

Fitzsimons claimed he acted in self-defense during an alcohol-fueled brawl. He said the two men, Briton Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare, had pinned him down and pointed an M4 rifle in his face before he used his pistol to kill them.

"This is a very good decision, and a very good result - he has been saved from death," said Fitzsimons' lawyer Tariq Harb.

A psychiatrist told the court that Fitzsimons suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder but was aware of his actions and their consequences.

Fitzsimons is the first Westerner to be tried in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003. Up until a US-Iraqi security pact went into effect on January 1, 2009, foreign security contractors had immunity from prosecution by Iraqi courts.

Author: Holly Fox (AFP, AP)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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