Today we bring you our Team Raven 23 video and the basic story of our fight to #FreeRaven23.
Decorated veterans Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty, Nick Slatten, and Paul Slough dedicated their lives to serving our country.
First, they served in the United States military . . .
Then, they served as Department of State contractors, as part of the DOS's mission to transform war-torn Iraq into a democratic society.
Dustin, Evan, Nick, and Paul were members of Tactical Support Team Raven 23, and part of their job was to come to the aid of other teams who were attacked while on missions with dignitaries in the Red Zone . . .
They served America honorably . . .
Their service came at great cost to themselves and their loved ones. After an investigation and trial filled with some of the worst rights violations imaginable, on October 22, 2014, Dustin, Evan, Nick, and Paul were convicted by a Washington, DC, civilian jury for defending themselves and their team, Raven 23, against a car bomb threat from a white Kia and incoming fire. Three of the men (Dustin, Evan, and Paul) received 30-year mandatory-minimum sentences based solely on the type of government-issued weapons they were required to carry. The fourth (Nick), received a life sentence for allegedly murdering the driver of the white Kia, even though the government has had evidence since day one that someone else on the team killed the driver because the Kia presented a car bomb threat to Raven 23. Rather than giving Nick the separate trial to which he was constitutionally entitled so his jury could hear this evidence that proves he's innocent, the trial judge kept this evidence from the jury through a bogus application of the law after stating that he did not want to try the case twice.
Presently, these men are appealing their convictions to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, and the court's decision is expected any day. Armed with the record in the case—almost none of which has been reported in the media, let alone accurately—the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (a non-partisan, non-profit group of some of the best legal minds in America) stands in their corner. In a strongly-worded amicus brief that takes both the government lawyers and trial judge to task, the NACDL supports the total reversal of the Raven 23 convictions. More specifically, the NACDL has taken the position that the Raven 23 trial "never should have happened," was fraught with "prosecutorial overreaching and unfairness," leaves "the integrity of the criminal justice system . . . compromised" by allowing the government's use of perjured testimony to go unchecked, and includes a murder charge against Nick Slatten for which "a more textbook case of vindictive prosecution can scarcely be imagined."
While Dustin, Evan, Nick, and Paul fight for their freedom on appeal, they need your help to spread the word about the false justice of their convictions. Please educate yourself about the case: Read this article from someone who (unlike the FBI investigators who arrived in Iraq 3 weeks after the incident) was actually in Nisur Square. Visit our website and Facebook page. Read the briefs on the appeal page of our website and/or the summary of those briefs from our February Newsletter. See how the same government that Dustin, Evan, Nick, and Paul honorably served for so many years sacrificed them, not because the truth justified it, but because political appeasement required it.
Then, please share this important story with everyone you know, and participate in Letters for Raven 23, a targeted letter-writing campaign designed to raise awareness about our fight for true justice and transparency. Thank you for helping Free Raven 23!