Eight Iraqis held in military police murder probe

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The Independent Online

Eight suspects are being held on suspicion of involvement in the deaths of six Army Red Caps who were murdered by an Iraqi mob in 2003, an Army spokesman said today.

The military policemen were killed after an estimated 400 Iraqis descended on a police station in the town of Majar al-Kabir in June 2003.

The Army spokesman said a judge in Iraq was reviewing evidence against the suspects but had indicated they will face trial.



The spokesman said: "The UK Government is committed to seeing the killers of the six Royal Military Police personnel brought to justice and our thoughts remain with the families of those who died throughout this difficult process.

"The case is now at the investigative stage where the judge reviews the evidence. He has indicated that eight suspects now in custody will go to trial.

"We are assisting the Iraqi government in every way possible to secure convictions, including access to UK investigative materials and expertise."





The six Red Caps killed were Sergeant Simon Hamilton-Jewell, 41, from Chessington, Surrey; Corporal Russell Aston, 30, from Swadlincote, Derbyshire; Corporal Paul Long, 24, of Tyne and Wear; Lance Corporal Benjamin McGowan Hyde, 23, from Northallerton, North Yorkshire; Lance Corporal Tom Keys, 20, from Bala, North Wales; and Corporal Simon Miller, 21, from Tyne and Wear.

In January 2008 Iraqi interior minister Jawad Al Boulani vowed to do his best to track down the killers after a letter from three of the families implored the Iraqi government to find the culprits.



In his letter, Mr Al Boulani said: "I promise you that I will do my best by exerting every means to reach the criminals and bring them to justice.



"I hope that there will come a day when you will be here to see the criminals being tried before justice and also a procurement of a verdict against them, God willing."



Mike Aston, father of Cpl Aston, John Miller, father of Cpl Miller, and Reg Keys, father of L/Cpl Keys, wrote to the Iraqi government in March 2007.



A court in Baghdad issued arrest warrants for eight suspects in February 2006 but it seemed there had been little progress.



In March 2006, Coroner Nicholas Gardiner recorded a narrative verdict of unlawful killing.



He said the six men should have been better equipped but their deaths could not have been avoided.



A Ministry of Defence inquiry into the deaths found they could not have been prevented.

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