Murder charges against Plymouth Royal Marines are dropped
MURDER charges against two of five Plymouth-based Royal Marines accused of killing a man in Afghanistan have been dropped, according to The Sun.
The Royal Marines from Stonehouse's 3 Commando were accused of the murder of a Taliban insurgent in Afghanistan on September 15, 2011.
The Service Prosecuting Authority told The Sun newspaper the charges against two of the Marines have been dropped after a review of the evidence.
The three others still face charges.
They were arrested after a video was discovered on the laptop of a Royal Marine who was picked up by UK police over an unrelated matter.
The seized clip allegedly showed members of a Royal Marine patrol standing over an unarmed Taliban fighter as he lay dying on the ground in September 2011.
Nine Marines were held and five of them became the first British troops to be charged with murder in Afghanistan since UK forces were deployed there in 2001.
They are all believed to be from 3 Commando and referred to only as Marines A, B, C, D and E in court martial proceedings.
But following a review the Service Prosecuting Authority confirmed charges against Marines D and E have been dropped. The remaining trio still face charges.
During a six-month tour of duty, which lasted from April to October 2011, 3 Commando Brigade saw seven servicemen killed in action, all from Devon-based 42 Commando.
Codenamed Operation Herrick 14, it was the unit's fourth tour and saw them capture a huge cache of explosives from the Taliban.
A 'Free the 5' Facebook page protesting the arrested mens' innocence has attracted more then 65,000 likes.