'Marine A' Alexander Blackman to be freed from jail within hours

Alexander Blackman

Former Royal Marine Alexander Blackman, who shot dead a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, is to be released from prison within hours.

Blackman, who has spent more than three years in prison for killing the injured insurgent in 2011, is to leave Erlestoke Prison, near Devizes, Wiltshire on Friday, campaigners have said.

He was originally convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 10 years, but this was quashed last month by the Court Martial Appeal Court and replaced with diminished responsibility manslaughter.

The judges ruled that Blackman was suffering from an "abnormality of mental functioning" at the time of the shooting, when he was serving in Afghanistan with Plymouth-based 42 Commando.

His sentence was reduced to seven years which meant he was likely to be freed within weeks.

Campaigner group Justice for Marine A had said the time and date of his release would not be made public due to privacy and safety concerns.

However, in a statement posted on Facebook on Thursday, the group said: "We are delighted to announce that Al will finally be released tomorrow after what has been a well fought battle by you all.

"We will of course be posting more updates but can we please remember that this is a tense time for the family and that they have asked for some privacy. #justiceformarineA".

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