LONDON: A British marine who executed a severely injured Afghan insurgent was named for the first time Thursday, after a judge dismissed his claim that his identity should be protected for his own safety.
Sergeant Alexander Blackman is facing a possible life sentence after he was found guilty at a court martial last month of murdering the insurgent while deployed in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province in 2011.
Blackman, who had also served in Iraq and Northern Ireland during 15 years in the Royal Marines, is due to be sentenced on Friday.
His court martial heard that he had shot the wounded captive in the chest while quoting Shakespeare. The execution was inadvertently filmed on a comrade's helmet camera.
Blackman's name was disclosed following a High Court ruling that lifted an anonymity order preventing him from being identified.
A panel of three judges ruled that two of Blackman's comrades, who were acquitted of encouraging or assisting him, should also be named.
But their identities were not immediately revealed as their lawyers were considering taking the issue to Britain's Supreme Court.
The soldiers' lawyers had argued that their lives would be at "real and immediate" risk if their names were released.
Their court martial last month in Bulford, southwest England, heard that the marines found the Afghan man in a field while looking for insurgents who had attacked a patrol base.
They moved him under the cover of trees, where Blackman shot him at close range, quoting William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" as he convulsed and died in front of him.
"There you are. Shuffle off this mortal coil," he told the dying man. "It's nothing you wouldn't do to us."
He then turned to his comrades and said: "Obviously this doesn't go anywhere, fellas. I just broke the Geneva Convention."
Footage of the murder was found on a laptop by military police investigating unrelated matters in September last year.
Blackman told the court martial he believed the captive was already dead when he shot him.
"I cannot give any other reason than to say that it was poor judgement and lack of self-control," he told the hearing.
"I thought he was dead."
He blamed "foolish bravado" for quoting Shakespeare at the dying man and said it was something "I am not proud of".
Charges against a fourth and fifth marine were discontinued. Judges are set to consider the question of their anonymity at a further hearing.