We are approaching TWO long years of fighting for true justice for decorated veterans Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty, Nick Slatten, and Paul Slough. Some of you have been with us since the beginning, and some of you have recently joined the fight. To all of you, we say thank you!
We know many of you are out there, daily, championing our cause, and we want you to be armed with as much information as possible. And, for those who are just hearing about us, we want to provide you with an introduction. So, today marks the start of our week-long Free Raven 23 Fact Series: What You Should Know About the Raven 23 Case.
Let’s get started . . .
Day 1: The Basics
The men at the center of the Free Raven 23 movement—Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty, Nick Slatten, and Paul Slough (pictured above left)—are highly-trained decorated veterans. In their respective branches (Army for Nick & Paul and Marines for Dustin & Evan), these men served combat tours and deployments to some of the most dangerous regions around the globe.
After being honorably discharged, Dustin, Evan, Nick, and Paul went to work as Department of State contractors in Baghdad, Iraq. By September of 2007, all four men had served many tours in Iraq, were no strangers to combat, and had earned highly-competitive positions on Blackwater’s elite Tactical Support Team Raven 23. Raven 23, for short, was essentially a quick response team, and part of its job was to intervene when other teams protecting diplomats came under attack.
Tragically, on September 16, 2007, while responding to a car bomb attack on another team in Baghdad’s red zone, ONE member of Raven 23—a man who it would later be discovered lied about his training and experience to gain his position on the team—panicked when Raven 23 faced a secondary car bomb threat and received incoming enemy fire. While our men and several others who were not prosecuted did their jobs, this OTHER man sprayed the crowd with more than 100 bullets, tragically killing and wounding innocent civilians in Nisur Square traffic circle.
Fast forward seven long years later, on October 22, 2014, as a result of horrendous rights violations and inexcusably erroneous legal rulings, Dustin, Evan, Nick, and Paul were convicted by a civilian jury that found them guilty by association for their teammate’s crimes. They have been fighting for their freedom ever since. Their case is currently pending appeal before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, and an unpaid, national non-partisan association of some of the brightest legal minds in the country is calling for their convictions to be overturned (more about that on day four).
Until tomorrow, please visit the homepage of our website to watch a short 4-minute video telling the story of the men we’re fighting for. And we’ll see you back here tomorrow for a more in-depth look at the men themselves.