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Last Updated: Monday, 3 April 2006, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Israel 'delayed' death inquiries
James Miller
James Miller was shot in the neck
The widow of a film-maker shot dead in Gaza said Israeli authorities delayed an investigation to try to "grind down" his family's fight for justice.

James Miller, 34, from Devon, was shot while making a film about children in the Rafah refugee camp in Gaza in 2003.

An Israeli investigation in April 2005 cleared a soldier of misusing firearms.

His wife, 35-year-old Sophy Miller, told St Pancras Coroner's Court in London that the Israeli Defence Force had given out misleading information.

All the while it has been the family that has had to produce, investigate and provide the evidence
Sophy Miller

At the inquest, the 10-strong jury heard how James Miller was holding a white flag lit up by a torch when he was shot in the neck.

Mrs Miller gave emotional evidence, telling of her husband's death and the frustrations of the inquiry into his death.

She said: "The thing that is the hardest is that we (the family) were given assurance by the Israeli authorities and our government that this was being fully and thoroughly investigated.

"And yet all the while it has been the family that has had to produce, investigate and provide the evidence in order to bring any form of justice and to date he hasn't received any.

"It would have been much easier for them (the Israeli authorities) if we had found it too difficult and they have given the impression that they were just trying to grind us down in the hope that we couldn't go on."

Mrs Miller, from Braunton, Devon, said that since her husband's death almost three years ago, she has travelled to Israel three times to try to get justice on his behalf.

At the inquest, she named the Israeli soldier who shot her husband as First Lieutenant Haib from the Bedouin Desert Reconnaissance Battalion, who was commanding a unit at the time of the killing on 2 May 2003.

Giving evidence before the five-man, five-woman jury, Mrs Miller said that the Israeli Defence Force had given out misleading information from the moment her husband was shot.

Emotional evidence

She said: "They put out statements almost immediately saying that there had been a gun battle and that James had walked into a gun battle.

"We know from military reports that there had been no gun battle.

"They said he had been shot from behind and it had been a Palestinian - it was quite clear from the autopsy that he had been shot through the neck."

Mrs Miller said Lt Haib had given six testimonies, all of which were conflicting.

Despite advice from the Israeli Advocate General that he be disciplined for breaching the rules of engagement, illegal use of weapons and misconduct during the investigation, he was acquitted by Brigadier General Guy Tzur, the head of the army's southern command.

The hearing, which is scheduled to last five days, continues.


SEE ALSO:
Soldier cleared of Gaza killing
14 Apr 05 |  Middle East
Cameraman's widow tells of fight
02 May 04 |  Middle East


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