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Spain / Irak6 December 2006

Court says Spain can investigate Spanish cameraman’s death in Baghdad

Spain’s supreme court yesterday ordered the reopening of the Spanish judicial investigation into the death of Spanish cameraman José Couso, who was killed when a US tank shelled the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad on 8 April 2003.

“Under the principle of universal justice, the investigation of this case falls within the jurisdiction of the Spanish legal system,” the supreme court ruled, overturning a 10 March decision by investigating judge Santiago Pedraz to close the case.

As a result of the ruling, Spain could now request the extradition of the three US soldiers responsible for firing at the hotel.

Couso worked for the privately-owned Spanish TV station Telecinco. A Reuters cameraman, Taras Protsyuk, was killed by the same shell. A US military investigation in 2003 concluded that the coalition forces were not guilty of “any misconduct or negligence” when they shelled the hotel.

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