Three servicemen – including a decorated major for whom I am acting – face prosecution for manslaughter over the death of an Iraqi teenager 13 years ago in a betrayal of British veterans.
The soldiers, two of whom are still serving, were informed last week they could be charged over the death of a 19-year-old who drowned in 2003 in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq.
The decision by the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) to consider charges comes despite a military investigation as long ago as 2006 that cleared the three men of wrongdoing.
Johnny Mercer, chairman of a parliamentary defence committee, called the new investigation a “betrayal” – and he is absolutely right.
The decision to prosecute my client is a disgrace. He has already been cleared of any wrongdoing after a thorough investigation. The major, who has been awarded two medals for bravery and was wounded in Afghanistan, is also suffering mental and physical health problems. He has lost his career; he has lost his sanity.
Having consulted with veterans I believe any soldiers being pursued by the IHAT should be guaranteed the following:
- The right to a framework of help and support for serving and ex-military personnel to include, Chain of Command, welfare and medical support.
- The right to independent legal advice.
- The right for funding for such advice.
- The right to a fair trial.
- Time limits be imposed on these cases.
- The rights promised to military personnel under the military covenant to be upheld.