At a rally for Sgt Blackman, given a life sentence for murdering a Taliban fighter, his wife condemns the banning of serving military personnel from attending the event
Sgt Alexander Blackman was convicted of murder in November 2013 after studying trial for shooting an injured Taliban fighter while deployed in Afghanistan in 2011. He received a life sentence with a minimum term of ten years which was later reduced to eight.
In a protest timed to coincide with the October 28 anniversary of the founding of the Royal Marines, 1000 people including former Marines took to Parliament Square to call for the case against Sgt Blackman to be retried.
“We feel that this government has let down one of our own,” said Jeff Little, a former Marine who served from 1973 until 1983 and did tours in Northern Ireland and Iraq,” therefore we’d like to see that this case is reviewed immediately.”
In the weeks before the rally the Ministry of Defence reminded serving servicemen and women that under Queens Regulations RN, “they are not to attend any political protests, marches, rallies or demonstrations. Any gathering which seeks to protest against a decision taken by the legal system or the government falls into this category.”
“I’m sure they have their reasons,” Sgt Blackman’s wife Claire said of the MOD’s statement.
“But I don’t know what they are. It’s disappointing for all those lads that were Al’s colleagues that can’t show their support and it’s disappointing for Al because senior members of the Royal Marine family have broken their promise that once a Marine, always a Marine.”
The campaign to have Sgt Blackman’s case reviewed has so far raised more that £750,000 for his legal bills and supporters are hopeful that event’s like today’s will put pressure on the government to act.