RAF doctor who refused to go to Iraq put under curfew

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The Independent Online

An RAF doctor sentenced 12 weeks ago to eight months' imprisonment for refusing to serve in Iraq has been released from jail and put under house detention.

Flt Lt Malcolm Kendall-Smith, who has been tagged and placed under a curfew, has lodged an appeal against his conviction and sentence at the Court of Appeal.

A group of celebrities, including the actor Simon Callow, the film director Ken Loach and the designer Vivienne Westwood, took part in a fundraising event for Flt Lt Kendall-Smith, who is no longer entitled to legal aid. The RAF doctor had spent his period of incarceration in a closed high-security prison, Chelmsford, instead of being transferred to an open prison, as was the general expectation, including that of Ministry of Defence officials.

Flt Lt Kendall-Smith's solicitor, Justin Hugheston-Roberts, said no explanation had been given about why he was kept in Chelmsford. An RAF colleague described the decision to do so as "an act of pure spite".

Speaking for the first time since being found guilty at a court martial, Flt Lt Kendall-Smith said: "Do not believe government propaganda, the continuing use of force against the people of the formerly independent state of Iraq is motivated by political corruption, corporate profits and aggressive capitalism."

In a video message to his supporters, the doctor continued: "Thank you so much all of you who have shown me so much support in my stand in defence of the law, truth, justice and humanity. You do live in a democratic state and resistance against tyranny is not futile.

"We, you and I, are the people of the United Nations. Let us all demonstrate the humanity which our leaders fail to exhibit. God bless all members of the human race, including our brothers and sisters who are the people of the former sovereign state of Iraq."