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US contractors convicted of killing Afghans

US contractors convicted of killing Afghans

Mar 12, 2011 - 12:20

WASHINGTON (PANinfo-icon): Two American contractors have been convicted by a federal jury on charges of involuntary manslaughter for the death of two Afghan nationals in Kabulinfo-icon, the Justice Department said.

Justin Cannon, 27, and Christopher Drotleff, 29, were charged with killing two Afghans and seriously wounding a third while on an unauthorised convoy in Kabul, on May 5, 2009.

According to evidence presented at trial, Cannon and Drotleff -- Defense Department contractors employed by a subsidiary of Xe -- left their military base without authorisation to join a convoy transporting local interpreters.

Evidence established that, after a traffic accident involving one of the vehicles in the convoy, Cannon and Drotleff fired multiple shots into the back of a civilian car that had attempted to pass the accident scene.

The passenger of the car was fatally shot and the driver seriously injured, the Justice Department said, adding that an individual who happened to be walking his dog in the area was also killed in the shooting.

"Today, the jury found the defendants guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the death of Romal Mohammad Naiem, the front-seat passenger. They were acquitted of responsibility for the death of the person walking his dog and the injuries to the driver," the department said on Friday.

At sentencing, scheduled for June 14, 2011, Cannon and Drotleff face a maximum penalty of eight years in prison.


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