Over 1,300 member of the British public are to march on Westminster tomorrow to protest the incarceration of Sergeant Alex Blackman – known as ‘Marine A’ – but the Ministry of Defence has told serving troops they are banned from attending.
Meeting on the 351st anniversary of the foundation of the corps of Royal Marines, the supporters of the Justice For Marine A group hope to raise public awareness of what they see as the ‘fixed’ murder trial of Sergeant Alex Blackman, who was bizarrely given a life sentence in 2013 for killing a Taliban fighter in the heat of battle during an engagement in Helmand province in 2011.
Supporters of Sergeant Blackman contend the trial was not a fair one, with Member of Parliament Sir Roger Gale alleging the court was rigged. It has been suggested the charges were brought to cover up failings of senior officers. In other words, Sergeant Blackman was used as a scapegoat – and has paid for that with his liberty, being confined to a prison cell for ending the life of an already fatally wounded enemy combatant.
Speaking to Breitbart London campaign organiser and former marine John Davies said they were expecting more than 1,300 to attend the meeting, despite the Ministry of Defence reminding serving personnel they would face disciplinary charges if they attended the “political protest”.
Queen’s regulations, the standards and rules by which all soldiers, sailors, and airmen must abide — until recently on pain of death — prohibit attendance at political protests and rallies. The Mail reports military sources who claim a reminder of this part of the regulations has been posted with daily orders in barracks around London today – reiterating the ban and reminding personnel a blind eye would not be turned.
Mr. Davies told Breitbart London that while he was disappointed the military had taken this view, he was not ultimately surprised.
“I do understand the Ministry has to take a stand on this, and although we can’t encourage the [serving] guys to come, we won’t turn them away,” he said.
He also challenged the government’s characterisation of the meeting as a political event, insisting those gathering were merely doing so to show solidarity with Sergeant Blackman.
The ban only extends to British troops, and Mr. Davies said the campaign had received a lot of interest and support from foreign troops who had served alongside the British in Afghanistan. He said the level of support from serving United States Marine Corps and United States Air Force personnel stationed both in London and the United States had been “immense” and a number would be attending the meeting tomorrow.
Calling for the case to be reviewed immediately, Mr. Davies said “we believe this is a gross miscarriage of justice. We want to form a united show of support for Sergeant Blackman’s family, we believe in the true spirit of brotherhood. That commando spirit that has been instilled into us during and after training”.
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