More than 100,000 have petitioned for the release of Royal Marine Sergeant Alexander Blackman. Blackman was convicted and given a life sentence for the murder of an Afghan fighter. The citizens who signed the petition are calling for the release of Blackman on grounds that he was defending his country from a terrorist.
In 2011, Blackman was involved in the killing of a wounded Afghan man in Helmand Province while he was serving with the Plymouth-based 42 Commando. The Marine shot the victim at close range with a 9mm pistol and quoted Shakespeare as he watched the man die, saying: “There you are. Shuffle off this mortal coil, you c***. It’s nothing you wouldn’t do to us.”
He then turned to comrades and said: “Obviously this doesn’t go anywhere, fellas. I just broke the Geneva Convention.”
Blackman denied murder in court, claiming he thought the victim was already dead and that he only shot him in anger. The court martial in Bulford, Wiltshire, would not budge and gave him a life sentence with a minimum of 10 years.
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An e-petition was addressed to the Ministry of Defense asking: “Release Marine A & quash his murder conviction. Marine A has defended his country from a terrorist.”
So far the petition has reached over 107,000 signatures. Because it has exceeded the 100,000 mark, it must now be addressed and debated in Parliament.
Blackman served with distinction in the Royal Marines for 15 years, including tours of Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland. Following his conviction, he was "dismissed with disgrace."