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Blackman blasts high court treatment of two US Marines

Date Posted: 2005-08-17

The senior American military officer on Okinawa, a three star Marine general, has taken aim at the Fukuoka High Court for “an unprecedented and barbaric sentence” against two GI’s convicted in a robbery and assault case.

The Ryukyu Shimpo reports that Lieutenant General Robert Blackman, while Okinawa Area Coordinator earlier this year, lashed out at a decision made by the court, calling it “bias against the accused.” The Fukuoka High Court had last January rejected appeals from the two servicemen while criticizing the U.S. military itself for not restricting the men during the investigation, a move that allowed the pair to meet and collaborate on their stories.

Blackman spoke in a memo prepared after one of the men appealed the sentence, requesting U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld “take action through diplomatic channels to correct the injustice of the High Court’s decision.” The general called the ruling “unfair” and attacked the High Court move, noting “it can be interpreted that the U.S. Marine Corps is an accomplice.

The two Marines were arrested in Ginowan City in 2003, and charged with assaulting and robbing a local Okinawan man. The incident resulted in two trials, with the more harsh prison sentence levied at the second.

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