WikiLeaks Cable Triggers Lawsuit Over Journo's Death

WikiLeaks: Spain colluded with US to quash charges against troops
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2010 4:19 AM CST
Jose Couso, who worked for the Spanish television network Telecinco, is seen in this 2003 file television image, taken in Baghdad.    (AP Photo/EFE)

(Newser) – The family of a Spanish cameraman killed by American forces in Baghdad have launched what could be the first legal action to use WikiLeaks diplomatic cables as evidence. Jose Couso died along with a Reuters cameraman in 2003 when a US tank shell hit their hotel, a Pentagon-approved safe haven for journalists. His family is demanding a probe into whether the Spanish government colluded with American officials to prevent charges being filed against American troops, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

"While we are careful to show our respect for the tragic death of Couso and for the independence of the Spanish judicial system, behind the scenes we have fought tooth and nail to make the charges disappear," the American ambassador to Spain wrote in one 2007 cable. A month later, he told then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the Spanish government "has been helpful behind the scenes in getting the case appealed.” The information has sparked outrage in Spain. Analysts predict that the Couso family's legal action will be the first of many linked to leaked cables.

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