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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 November, 2004, 15:38 GMT
Inquest call over UN worker death
by Nic Rigby
BBC News Online, Norwich

Iain Hook's UN identity card
Iain Hook was working for the UN when he was killed
Pressure is growing over the two-year wait for the conclusion of an inquest into the death of a British aid worker shot by an Israeli soldier.

Iain Hook, 54, of Felixstowe, Suffolk, was project manager for United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) in Jenin when he was killed on 22 November 2002.

But despite the inquest being opened in December 2002 it has yet to conclude.

A spokesman for the Ipswich coroner said "extensive" investigations had not yet been completed.

Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding , told BBC News Online on the eve of the anniversary of Mr Hook's death that he was concerned at how long it has taken for the inquest to conclude.

"I think it is absolutely essential that the coroner holds the inquiry with suitable haste to show the seriousness about the fact that a British national has been killed," he said.

"Facts of the case should be established. There should be no delay in holding the inquest.

Crispin Blunt MP
It's essential that the full facts surrounding Iain Hook's death are made public
Crispin Blunt MP, chairman of the Conservative Middle East Council

"Also there is somebody out there who may have been guilty of killing a UN aid worker. Someone out there is potentially trigger-happy."

Bernard Mills, an ex-head of UNRWA operations in Gaza who lives in Suffolk, said: "I would be interested to know why the inquest not been held. I think there should be an inquest, blame should be apportioned."

MP Crispin Blunt, the Conservative Middle East Council chairman, added: "It's essential that the full facts surrounding Iain Hook's death are made public. That should be the duty of the coroner and police as appropriate."

Mr Blunt, who was with a group of MPs on a fact-finding trip to the Gaza Strip when a nearby area came under fire from Israeli troops, said he was "very surprised" that the inquest had not been concluded.

A spokesman for the coroner Dr Peter Dean said: "There are extensive inquiries still going on. The inquest will happen as soon as possible."

The inquest was opened and adjourned at Ipswich Crown Court in December 2002.

A date for the full inquest is yet to be fixed, a spokesman for the coroner said on Friday.


SEE ALSO:
British UN worker 'shot in back'
14 Feb 03 |  England


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