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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 May, 2004, 06:27 GMT 07:27 UK
Hanan's parents pledge vengeance
Hanan Saleh Matrud
Amnesty International want Hanan's death independently investigated
The parents of an eight-year-old Iraqi girl allegedly shot dead by British troops have vowed to avenge her death.

Hanan Saleh Matrud was apparently killed by a soldier firing a warning shot in Basra last August.

Her father, Saleh, told BBC News: "I want the soldier who killed my daughter put on trial and I want compensation."

The case has been highlighted by Amnesty International which wants all civilians deaths caused by British troops investigated independently.

I hate the British. If I catch the soldier who did this to my little girl I will destroy him
Hanan's mother Delal Matrud
It says of the 37 deaths of unarmed Iraqi civilians UK troops have been involved in since May 1, only half have been fully investigated.

Hanan's mother, Delal, says the family cries for young Hanan all the time and has vowed to avenge her death.

She recalls how her young daughter used to play outside their small house in the backstreets of the southern Iraqi town with the British soldiers.

But one day in August last year she was hit by a bullet in the stomach. She died the next day.

The Army said it was an accident, but an eye witness claimed she died when a soldier aimed and fired from a distance of around 60 metres.

"I hate the British. If I catch the soldier who did this to my little girl I will destroy him," Mrs Matrud added.

Letter

The family received a letter from the British military saying that their daughter may have been accidentally killed by one of their members firing a warning shot to disperse a mob of youths.

But the letter makes no apology or offer of compensation.

Amnesty says this is typical of the way families of those killed are treated.

Many were not kept informed about progress in investigations, or sometimes even told an investigation had started, the group said.

And families were often not fully informed about how to apply for compensation, or were told incorrect information.

Separately on Tuesday the High Court ruled that relatives of 12 Iraqis allegedly killed by UK troops would get a full court hearing into the decision not to hold independent inquiries.

The families want the deaths declared a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, but the UK Government says the convention does not apply in Iraq.

BBC Correspondent in Basra Ben Brown says stories like that of Hanan are making UK forces increasingly unpopular in the city.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Ben Brown
"Amnesty insists there should be independent investigations when civilians are killed"



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