British man charged with double murder in Iraq

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Authorities in Iraq have charged a British man with the murder of his two colleagues from security contractor ArmorGroup. Daniel Fitzsimons is suspected of murdering fellow Briton Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare.

Three men were shot in the incident yesterday, which occured in ArmorGroup's Baghdad compound. In addition to the two fatally injured, an Iraqi guard was wounded. According to a spokesman for the Iraqi interior ministry, the group was drinking when an argument began and one man opened fire on the others.

Cquote1.svg "The suspect is facing a pre-meditated murder charge. The matter is now in the hands of Iraqi justice." Cquote2.svg

—Qassim al-Moussawi

Iraqi army spokesman Qassim al-Moussawi stated that "The suspect is facing a pre-meditated murder charge. The matter is now in the hands of Iraqi justice." Major General Abdul-Kareem Khalaf said "He's now in Iraqi police custody and he will be tried under Iraqi law," and pointed out that a conviction carried a possible death penalty.

The men worked in the capital's diplomatic zone, which features heavy security. Fitzsimons appeared before a court today, where the prosecution informed the judge they had all the evidence required for a trial. It would mark the first trial of a Westerner since local authorities assumed responsibility for policing foreign contractors earlier this year.

One witness is reported to have said, "They were all very drunk and started shouting at each other. They had a big argument and suddenly [Mr Fitzsimons] pulled out a gun and shot his two friends. An Iraqi was standing behind him and tried to take away the gun. But he turned around and shot him ... Then he ran away."


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