Supergun trial set for Italy

Click to follow
The Independent Online
TERNI, Italy (Reuter) - An Italian magistrate yesterday ordered seven people - including two Iraqis and two Britons - to stand trial on charges related to the alleged illegal sale of military hardware for the Iraqi supergun.

The magistrate handed down a ruling in an investigation which began in 1990 when Italian police seized some 90 tonnes of parts suspected to be for the gun. Similar seizures were also made in Britain, Greece, Turkey, Germany and Switzerland.

Three Italians will stand trial in January next year on the charge of manufacturing war weapons without authorisation, the magistrate said.

The other four - the two Iraqis and two Britons - will be tried in November 1994 on the same charge, he added.

The Britons, Christopher Cowley and John Heat, were alleged to have given technical assistance through an unnamed firm. The Iraqis, who were identified as government representatives, were named as Mishedani Shakir Mahmood and A K Azzawi.

The seizure, in May 1990, in cluded 15 tonnes of forged steel parts which were found at the headquarters of an industrial plant at Terni, north of Rome, and were suspected of being components for the rear of the Iraqi long-range cannon, which was capable of firing shells over a distance of 480 km (300 miles).