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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 January, 2005, 16:26 GMT
TA soldier to quit over Iraq war
George Solomou (right), with Rose Gentle
Mr Solomou urged others to join him in condemning the Iraq conflict
A Territorial Army soldier says he is resigning in protest over the war in Iraq, branding it "unjust and immoral".

L/Cpl George Solomou, 38, who argued that the war was illegal, said many soldiers he knew felt the same and urged others to speak out.

He also attacked the US over the war, at a press conference on Wednesday.

Mr Solomou, who has been in the TA for five years, said he would refuse to go to Iraq if he was called up and was prepared to go to prison instead.

If he received call-up papers to go to Iraq, he would take them to Downing Street and burn them, he said.

I do not want any other family to have to go through what we are going through
Rose Gentle,
Military Families Against the War

"I support the troops, but I personally do not support the war," Mr Solomou said.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said there was "no intention" to call up Mr Solomou, "so theoretically he can't conscientiously object to being called up".

However, there were military procedures to deal on a case-by-case basis with soldiers who do object once they had been called up, she added.

'Personal matter'

At the press conference in London, L/Cpl Solomou said: "The systematic torture by American soldiers is evil.

"Not since Dachau and Auschwitz has systematic torture been used - this is immoral."

The MoD said L/Cpl Solomou's views on the war were a "personal matter."

Mr Solomou was joined by Rose Gentle, whose son, Gordon, was killed in Iraq.

She told the press conference: "This was a war for oil and greed.

"It is time that the boys came home and I do not want any other family to have to go through what we are going through."

Gordon Gentle died in a roadside bomb attack last June while serving with the Royal Highland Fusiliers.

When asked about photographs depicting the alleged abuse of Iraqi prisoners by British soldiers, shown to a court martial on Tuesday, she said: "It will make it worse, it is going to make the soldiers even more of a target."

Demonstration

Mr Solomou, from Hackney, London, whose normal job is working for the emergency services, is currently in the Royal Army Medical Corps attached to the London Irish Rifles.

He said he had yet to resign officially because he wanted to see the reaction to his views.

Mrs Gentle, a founder of campaign group Military Families Against the War, urged people to support a mass demonstration in London on 19 March.

The protest, organised by the Stop The War Coalition, is being held to demand that the troops be brought home.




SEE ALSO:
Rose Gentle in plea to PM's wife
20 Dec 04 |  Scotland
Grieving mother's challenge to PM
11 Sep 04 |  Scotland


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