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All this week we are serialising the brutally frank memoirs of Alexander Blackman — Marine ‘A’ — who was accused of a war crime in Afghanistan. Yesterday, we told how being charged with murder ruined his life. Here, he describes his anguish as he stood in front of a court martial to defend his actions and fight for his good name after 16 years’ exemplary service in the Royal Marines . . .
Stepping into the courtroom at the Military Court Centre at Bulford Camp on Salisbury Plain in late October 2013, I took in the place where the next years of my life — perhaps my entire life — would be decided.
Platform - Judge - Advocate - Proceedings - Side
There was a pine platform from which the judge advocate would oversee proceedings. To one side sat three Royal Marine and four Navy officers, the court martial jury who would decide my fate on the charge of murdering a Taliban insurgent in Afghanistan.
They were all that I and my two fellow defendants would see. We were screened off from the public gallery and the press by a partition. From here, we would listen to the evidence presented against us, hear our lawyers’ cross-examinations and ultimately deliver our own testimonies.
Names - Judge - Anonymity - Order - Year
We didn’t even have names. The judge had imposed an anonymity order on us when we were first charged more than a year ago, but there had been much media speculation about ‘Marine A’, as I had become widely known, and his fellow defendants, ‘B’ and ‘C’.
The moniker concerned me because it shrouded the truth about who and what I was.
Marine - A - Voiceless - Figure - Silhouette
Marine A was a voiceless, nameless figure, a silhouette at the head of a news item, a man without a family, a history, a life. A man synonymous with a few moments in Helmand Province, without any of the context of...
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