Royal Marine convicted of murdering Afghan ‘insurgent’ launches new appeal

© sushma Karki
Sergeant Alexander Blackman, the Royal Marine Commando convicted of executing a wounded Afghan ‘insurgent’ on the battlefield in 2011, has launched an appeal against his sentence - with celebrity backing.

The 41-year-old veteran of Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland, who served for 15 years in the Marines, executed the dying man in Helmand Province in view of a colleague’s helmet camera, which recorded the whole incident.

Speaking out for the first time ahead of his new appeal attempt, which has won the backing of bestselling thriller writer Frederick Forsyth, Blackman argued that the point-blank shooting during which he quoted a line from Shakespeare had been a “split-second mistake.

READ MORE: Images of UK soldier posing with dead Taliban insurgent emerge online

I made a split-second mistake, but I had been sent to a brutal battlefield to fight a war for my country,” Blackman, who is now serving an eight-year sentence after his original 10-year term was reduced on appeal, told the Daily Mail from prison.

He blasted the British Establishment for selling him out in the name of political correctness.

At the end of my trial, the Establishment lined up to portray me as evil, because it suited them … to show the world how politically correct we are.

I have been made a scapegoat for all that went wrong there.

I have been treated like someone who had carefully planned to kill his wife, invented an alibi and buried her body in the woods,” he added.

It was also claimed on Friday that one the Royal Marines highest flying officers, Colonel Oliver Lee, resigned over the case.

Confidential papers by Lee, reportedly seen by the Daily Mail, argue that a “serious breakdown of the sacrosanct relationship between command and commanded had occurred and that the chain of command was not only responsible for this but, more gravely, had willfully failed in its obligations and thereby been complicit in bringing the breakdown to pass.

Blackman was recorded at the time of the killing saying to his victim: “There you are. Shuffle off this mortal coil. It’s nothing you wouldn’t do to us.