COLLECTIVE MADNESS


“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

British Lawyers Fearful of Iraqi Courts Executing Murderers of British Soldiers


Iraqis accused of murdering British troops get thousands of pounds in legal aid

Two Iraqis accused of murdering British prisoners of war have been granted thousands of pounds in legal aid to fight being handed over to the Iraqi authorities to face trial.

By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent, and Ben Leach Telegraph
Last Updated: 10:42PM GMT 15 Nov 2008

Faisal Al-Saadoon and Khalaf Mufdhi are accused of killing Staff Sergeant Simon Cullingworth and Sapper Luke Allsopp in cold blood during the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003.

The British government wants to hand the two Iraqis over to the Iraqi government for trial. But their British lawyer has launched a High Court legal challenge saying such a trial would breach his clients' human rights.

If he succeeds, the men, who are currently in British custody in Iraq, could be brought to the UK to face trial. Senior British Government officials are concerned that the two men will claim political asylum if they are tried in the UK.

The challenge, to be heard this week, has angered the dead British soldiers' relatives and opposition politicians.

Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP for Newark and a former infantry commander, said: " It seems totally wrong to me that these men are being given legal aid. Would we have given legal aid to Nazis who committed war crimes in the Second World War – of course not – this is arrant nonsense.

"What the hell is the point of fighting a war to try and establish democracy in a tyranny and then show a complete lack of trust in the new regime by failing to deliver alleged killers for trial? If these men do not stand trial in Iraq it would make a mockery of the blood spilt by British troops in fighting this war."

The murder of SSgt Cullingworth, 36, and Spr Luke Allsopp, 24, both members of 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) provoked a storm of outrage in the UK, with Tony Blair claiming that the two men had been executed by the Iraqi Army.

The soldiers were travelling as part of a convoy which was ambushed by Fedayeen militiamen on the outskirts of the town of Al Zubayr in southern Iraq on March 23, 2003.

While half the convoy escaped, SSgt Cullingworth, who was married with two sons, and Spr Allsopp, were taken to a local Ba'ath party headquarters and then to an Iraqi intelligence base, where they were shot dead.

Photographs taken of the soldiers at the compound as they lay dying, surrounded by a baying mob of Iraqis, were later shown on the Arabic TV channel al-Jazeera. The soldiers' graves were discovered a month later and their bodies were exhumed.
The judicial review of the men's case has been launched by the firm Public Immunity Lawyers who have been funded through legal aid.

Phil Shiner, of Public Immunity Lawyers, believes that Mr Saadoon, 56, and Mr Mufdhi, 58, would not get a fair trial in Iraq and could face the death penalty if found guilty. He also believes they would be tortured and abused by other inmates.

Mr Shiner told The Sunday Telegraph that the Iraqi Higher Tribunal, where they would be tried, was a "politicised court" established by the US-led coalition to try senior members of the former Ba'athist regime, and had already ordered the execution of several regime members including Saddam Hussein.

Mr Shiner, who confirmed that the judicial review was being funded by legal aid, will claim that to try the alleged killers in Iraq would be a breach of their human rights under the Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

He said: "The IHT have a track record of sentencing people to death and we, the UK, have a policy of not handing over people to a jurisdiction if there is a risk of the death penalty being applied."

The Sunday Telegraph understands, however, that senior officials in the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Justice have been given assurances at the "highest level" that the two accused will receive a fair trial and treatment, whatever the outcome of the case.

It is also understood that one of the families of the British dead have written to the Iraqi court and asked for clemency in the event that the former Iraqi soldiers are found guilty.

Margaret Cullingworth, 83, the mother of Simon Cullingworth, who lives in Ruthin, North Wales, said: "They should be tried and brought to justice in their own country. It was a horrible crime. We could have accepted it if they had been killed in battle but they were prisoners and were murdered.

"We do have confidence in the UK authorities and believe they will do the right thing. Simon's widow has been left to bring up the children on her own and she has found it very hard – we all have."

A spokesman for the MoD said: "The Secretary of State for Defence and the Foreign Secretary have received assurances from the Iraqi Government that Mr Al-Saadoon and Mr Mufdhi will be treated humanely when they are transferred to Iraqi custody. The assurances have been considered and found credible, and they have agreed that the two suspects can be transferred to the Iraqi authorities, provided that the UK courts finds this lawful.



15 comments:

  1. I've been trying to get a million dollars all my life.

    One day, one day....

    ReplyDelete
  2. When did "we" become British?

    Western Civilization. We're doomed.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Cajun Chicken makes me drowsy.

    Goodnight, mat. Goodnight, Bob.

    ReplyDelete
  4. 2500 years of Rome is enough. Time for a change.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "What the hell is the point of fighting a war to try and establish democracy in a tyranny and then show a complete lack of trust in the new regime by failing to deliver alleged killers for trial? If these men do not stand trial in Iraq it would make a mockery of the blood spilt by British troops in fighting this war."

    That seems very well said.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Washington Times:
    ...Iraq has demanded guarantees for its right to try U.S. soldiers and defense contractors for serious crimes committed off-duty and off-base and to ensure that the United States does not use Iraqi territory to attack a neighboring country, like Iran or Syria.

    It also wanted stronger language to clarify that U.S. troops cannot stay in Iraq after Dec. 31, 2011.

    The Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, Mr. al-Maliki's senior coalition partner and the country's largest Shi'ite party, has said that it would only sign off on the agreement if it does not breach the country's sovereignty and is endorsed by the country's top Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

    A senior official at Ayatollah al-Sistani's office in Najaf said Friday that the Iranian-born cleric would "intervene" if the final draft infringed on Iraq's sovereignty.

    The comment suggested that Ayatollah al-Sistani was prepared to publicly declare his opposition to the agreement if he thought it hurt Iraq's national interests. Such a move would bury the deal or require another round of talks with fewer than seven weeks left before the U.N. mandate expires. Iraqi officials say they will seek the mandate's renewal if parliament does not approve the pact.

    Two senior Shi'ite lawmakers close to Mr. al-Maliki, Ali al-Adeeb and Khalid al-Attiyah, traveled Saturday to Najaf, where they met with Ayatollah al-Sistani for 90 minutes in what appeared to be a last attempt to win his support.

    When asked about Ayatollah al-Sistani's position, Mr. al-Attiyah said the cleric stressed the need for "national accord," a possible suggestion that he might endorse the agreement if parliament passes it by a comfortable majority."

    ReplyDelete
  7. Recalling Basra.

    Human rights wacko lawyers ambulance chasing cases against Brit soldiers in Basra


    Britain's armed forces face a new wave of damaging legal actions over the alleged torture of detainees in Iraq, prompting concerns from defence chiefs over the role of UK law firms whom they accuse of placing military personnel 'under siege'.

    ...

    'The military like to suggest the Mousa case is the iceberg, not the tip. Unfortunately they are wrong,' said Phil Shiner, a solicitor with the Birmingham-based law firm Public Interest Lawyers (PIL). 'I'm acting in over 50 cases of which 22 involve torture or even death of civilians held in detention during occupation.'

    Guardian

    This is a direct result of the UK signing onto the International Criminal Court and it is exactly why President Bush was wise to reject this treaty. The antiwar pukes will always use it to continue their opposition, even after they have lost the debate on the use of force. The discipline of troops is the responsibility of the military. What the antiwar pukes really want to do is to destroy the military so that it will be impossible to use force.

    Prairiepundit, Saturday, July 23, 2005

    ReplyDelete
  8. So the Brits have held these two, for well over fve years, almost six, and never bothered to take them to any type of Court.

    Little wonder that they cannot easily dispense justice upon them, now.

    Same type thing will happen with the Gitmo detainees, but different, of course.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
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