Wednesday, 09 April 2014

Alexander Blackman, a Royal Marine sergeant, was convicted and jailed for life for shooting an injured Afghan insurgent on the front line. Some condemn him as a war criminal; others claim he is a casualty of war. The nation is divided.

Now, the shamed marine, dismissed with disgrace from the Royal Marines, is launching an appeal from his prison cell - not only against the sentence but the murder conviction itself. Blackman is the first British serviceman to be found guilty of murder during combat since WWII. The world will be watching - particularly our closest allies, the US.

On the eve of that appeal BBC One will be showing a one-off documentary examining all sides of the argument. Award winning filmmaker and anthropologist, Chris Terrill, who has witnessed the horrors of the Afghan conflict first hand, will look into Blackman's case, asking questions about the ethics of combat and rules of engagement in war as well as the mind bending nature of active duty on the front line. The film will examine the moral debate of this particular case and the long and bloody history of battlefield executions that have always been a part of war. As well as an exclusive interview with Blackman's wife, Claire, Terrill will be speaking to those that condemn Blackman's actions and those that condone them: those that revile him as a killer and even those that revere him as a hero.

Chris Terrill, film-maker says, I've spent a lot of time with the Royal Marines in Afghanistan often in the teeth of battle, and this was even more reason why I had to get to grips with what happened in the case of Sgt Blackman. It's not that I wanted to know why he did what he did, I needed to know.

Marine "A": Criminal or Casualty of War? will air on BBC One on Wednesday 9th April at 22.35.

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