US prosecutors meet Blackwater case familiesSaturday 13 December 2008 17.55
Three US federal prosecutors in Baghdad have met the families of Iraqi victims in the case of Blackwater security guards charged with killing 14 civilians.
Most Iraqi people at the meeting asked for compensation.
'The prosecutors said American justice will reach a decision but it will take a long time. For the moment, they made no promise of compensation,' said Ali Khalaf, a traffic policeman who was in the square at the time of the incident.
He said the prosecutors asked the Iraqis at the meeting ‘to come and give evidence in the United States in two or three months’.
On 9 December, five guards from the US security firm Blackwater Worldwide, a State Department contractor in Iraq, were charged with killing the 14 civilians and wounding 18 others using gunfire and grenades in Baghdad.
A sixth guard pleaded guilty to charges of voluntary manslaughter and attempt to commit manslaughter. The accused are set to face an arraignment hearing in Washington on 6 January.
According to the indictment, the accused were part of a Blackwater detail guarding a convoy of trucks when they opened fire with automatic weapons on unarmed civilians in a busy Baghdad square.
Blackwater has insisted its personnel were acting in self-defence.