Five Royal Marines charged with murder over the death of an insurgent in Afghanistan in 2011
British soldiers in Helmand: the incident took place last year but it is thought investigators only began inquiries in recent weeks. Photograph: Corporal Barry Lloyd Rlc/AFP
Five Royal Marines have been charged with murder over the death of an insurgent in Afghanistan in 2011.
Seven marines were arrested on Thursday by the Royal Military police. Two more were later arrested, one on Friday and one on Saturday. Four have been released without charge pending further inquiries, according to the Ministry of Defence.
The incident took place in Helmand province last year, but it is thought investigators only began an inquiry in recent weeks.
An MoD spokesman said: “The Royal Military police has referred the cases of the remaining five Royal Marines to the independent Service Prosecuting Authority.
“Following direction from the SPA these marines have now been charged with murder and they remain in custody pending court proceedings.”
The soldiers, believed to be members of 3 Commando Brigade, were arrested in connection with an incident described as “an engagement with an insurgent” in which no civilians were involved.
During a six-month tour of duty in 2010, which lasted from April to October, seven servicemen from the brigade were killed in action, all from 42 Commando. The tour, Operation Herrick 14, was the unit’s fourth and saw the force score notable successes in capturing explosives from the Taliban.
Jonathan Haynes and agencies
The Guardian, Sunday 14 October 2012 08.34 BST