Spanish judge orders arrest of three US soldiers

Their tank fired at a Baghdad hotel during the war in Iraq, killing a Spanish journalist.

smoke 88 (photo credit: )
smoke 88
(photo credit: )
A Spanish judge has issued an international arrest order for three US soldiers whose tank fired at a Baghdad hotel during the war in Iraq, killing a Spanish journalist, a court official said Wednesday. National Court Judge Santiago Pedraz issued the warrant for Sgt. Shawn Gibson, Capt. Philip Wolford and Lt. Col. Philip de Camp, all of the US Army's 3rd Infantry Division, said the official, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity. Jose Couso, who worked for the Spanish television network Telecinco, died April 8, 2003, after the tank crew fired a shell at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad where many journalists were staying to cover the war. Reuters cameraman Taras Portsyuk, a Ukrainian, was also killed in the same incident. The Spanish judge said he issued the arrest order because of a lack of judicial cooperation from the United States regarding the case. US officials insist the soldiers believed they were being shot at when they opened fire. Following the incident, then-US Secretary of State Colin Powell said American troops opened fire after drawing hostile fire from the hotel. He said a US review of the incident found the use of force was justified. In late 2003, the National Court, acting on a request from Couso's family, agreed to consider filing criminal charges against three members of the tank crew.