July 14, 2009 / 6:32 PM / 8 years ago

Spain dismisses case of cameraman killed in Iraq

MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish court said on Tuesday it had dismissed a case against three U.S. soldiers charged with the death in Iraq of Spanish cameraman Jose Couso.

During the U.S. invasion, Sergeant Thomas Gibson, Captain Philip Wolford and Lieutenant Colonel Phil de Camp fired a shell at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad on April 8, 2003, killing Telecinco cameraman Jose Couso and Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk, a Ukranian.

The court said the investigating magistrate had presented one-sided evidence, such as witness accounts from Spanish journalists, and left out the soldiers’ claims they fired because they thought they saw a spotter who was guiding in hostile fire.

The previous criminal case against the soldiers for Couso’s death was dismissed in 2008 after the court ruled the cameraman was killed as a result of an act of war.

In December, the Supreme Court reopened the case following an appeal by the Spanish cameraman’s family. The prosecution in both cases was lead by investigating magistrate Santiago Pedraz.

A U.S. military investigation found the tank crew acted within their rules of engagement and the United States has said it will not extradite the three.

The Spanish prosecution only deals with the death of Couso, not that of Protsyuk.

Reporting by Inmaculada Sanz; Writing by Ruth O'Leary

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