A British military court has released audio fragments that appear to record the killing of a captured Afghan militant at the hands of a Royal Marine sergeant.
The audio is part of a video dating from September 2011, which seems to show a group of British Marines involved in the killing of an injured Afghan militant. Prosecutors allege the Marines dragged the Afghan fighter out of sight after he was wounded by helicopter gunfire in Afghanistan's Helmand province, after which one of the Marines shot him in the chest.
While the judge of the court martial refused to release the full video, arguing that the footage could be used as enemy propaganda, he did approve the release of the audio fragments.
According to the Guardian, a first audio clip documents the troops dragging the insurgent across a field. Next, they appear to discuss how to kill him without raising suspicion. "Maybe we should pump one in his heart," one of the troops says.
The audio clearly records the shot itself, after which the sergeant who fired into the body says: "There you are. Shuffle off this mortal coil ... It's nothing you wouldn't do to us."
The man continues: "Obviously this doesn't go anywhere, fellas … I've just broken the Geneva Convention."
One Marine is accused of shooting the man, while the two others are said to have been "party to the killing," the BBC notes. The men were charged after the video was found on the laptop of a British serviceman. All three have been granted anonymity because of fears they could become terrorism targets.
The BBC explains that since the insurgent was a prisoner of war since the moment of his capture, his murder would constitute a violation of the Geneva Convention. The defendants argue, however, that the man was already dead at the time of the shooting.
The Associated Press notes that the Marines are the first British troops who are charged with murder since the start of British deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2001.
Listen to the audio in the clip below. Warning, some readers may find this disturbing.