Page last updated at 18:48 GMT, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 19:48 UK

Guard family calls for fair trial

Danny Fitzsimons
Danny Fitzsimons was working as a private security guard

The family of a man from Greater Manchester who has been arrested in Iraq over a double fatal shooting say they fear he may not get a fair trial.

Security guard Danny Fitzsimons is being held over the death of two contractors in Baghdad's Green Zone.

UK company ArmorGroup Iraq said Briton Paul McGuigan and Australian colleague Darren Hoare were killed on Sunday.

Mr Fitzsimons' father Eric and step-mother Liz say they want the former soldier to be tried in the UK.

He is currently being held in "pre-trial detention", BBC correspondent Natalia Antelava said.

Mrs Fitzsimons, who lives in Whitworth, said: "If he has done this crime then obviously he has to stand trial but, we would just want him to stand trial here.

"Our legal system is fair and we feel he would get a better trial because there are other things to take into account in this."

Mr Fitzsimons' parents talk about their son

Mr Fitzsimons, who had been living in Middleton, could face the death penalty if convicted of murder in Iraq.

He went to school in Royton, Oldham, and was in the army for eight years, serving in Afghanistan and Kosovo.

Mr Fitzsimons said he has been traumatised by his recent experiences in Iraq and had seen many people killed and injured by bombs.

He is also accused of wounding an Iraqi and is continuing to be questioned by Iraqi authorities.

A second British ArmorGroup employee was also questioned about the shooting but released later by police.

An Iraqi military spokesman said the incident "started as a squabble".

We're not saying that Daniel doesn't have to face what he's done, he does
Liz Fitzsimons

A spokesman for ArmorGroup Iraq paid tribute to the dead men, describing them as "experienced, dedicated operators".

Mr and Mrs Fitzsimons said their thoughts were with the men's families.

"We do feel very very sorry and heartbroken for them... aren't we?

"We're not saying that Daniel doesn't have to face what he's done, he does. He does have to face that. And we know he does.

"But what we want is for it to be fair, and unfortunately where he is now, we don't think it will be."

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said the Iraqi police were investigating.

The Green Zone is a heavily protected region of Iraq's capital city, which houses Iraqi government, coalition headquarters and most embassies.



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