The Guardian 26 October, 2005

Arrest orders for US soldiers
who killed Spanish journalist

MADRID: The Spanish justice system has issued arrest orders for an international search and capture for extradition purposes the three US soldiers involved in the murder of Spanish journalist José Couso on April 8, 2003 in the Hotel Palestine in Baghdad, EFE [Spanish media outlet] reported.

National Court Judge Santiago Pedraz explained that this is "the only effective way of ensuring the presence of the suspects at the trial at the disposition of the Spanish judicial authorities, in view of the complete absence of judicial cooperation from the US authorities in terms of clarifying the issue."

In that context, Pedraz noted that two petitions for legal assistance had been submitted to the United States, one on April 21 of 2004 asking for documentation, and the other on June 6, asking for statements to be taken from the soldiers involved, "or for the authorisation to transfer a Spanish judicial commission to the United States in order to take those statements."

"To date, no response has been received from the appropriate authorities regarding the implementation of either assistance petition", the judge’s order stated.

The suspects are Sergeant Thomas Gibson; Captain Philip Wolford, the commanding officer of the armoured vehicle unit that fired on the hotel; and Lieutenant Colonel Philip De Camp, in command of the regiment to which the armoured vehicles belonged.

Gibson was the person who on April 8, 2003, opened tank fire on the Baghdad Hotel Palestine that was housing the majority of foreign journalists who were covering the US invasion of Iraq.

The Couso family’s attorney, Pilar Hermoso, expressed satisfaction regarding the judge’s decision, which she described as "historic," although she noted that the United States does not extradite its citizens, which is why the three soldiers who are being sought cannot be arrested until they leave their country.


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