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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 May, 2004, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
Iraqi killings: Case studies
UK troops have been accused by human rights group Amnesty International of killing Iraqi civilians when they were under no apparent threat. These are some of the cases that Amnesty has detailed in its report.

HANAN SALEH MATRUD

Hanan Saleh Matrud
Accounts differ as to how eight-year-old Hanan died
Eight-year-old Hanan Saleh Matrud was killed in Karmat Ali on 21 August 2003 by a soldier from B Company of the First Battalion the King's Regiment.

There are differences in the accounts of what happened.

The soldiers said, in a letter to the family, that they had fired a warning shot to disperse a crowd of stone-throwers.

Several minutes later, the patrol noticed a crowd of people running towards them with a girl who had been cut in the stomach. She was taken to the Czech Hospital in northern Basra, but Hanan died the following morning.

The suggestion was that the injury was as a result of the warning shot.

One eyewitness said an armoured vehicle stopped near the entrance to the alley which leads to Hanan's home.

When three or four soldiers got out, a group of children, including Hanan, gathered about 60 or 70 metres from the vehicle inside the alley.

Suddenly a soldier fired a shot which hit Hanan in her lower torso.

The family and the clan refused a truce offered by the Army without compensation.

Hanan's father asked the army about compensation, but was told that a future Iraqi government would decide whether to compensate him.

According to Hanan's family, the military police photographed the area and interviewed witnesses the day after the killing, and photographed Hanan's body in the hospital.

However, the armed forces minister said no investigation was initiated by the UK military authorities into the killing.

WA'EL RAHIM JABAR

Wa'el Rahim Jabar was shot by a UK paratrooper on 26 May 2003 as he walked with two friends along a street in Amara about 9.10pm.

The 20-year-old was carrying a Kalashnikov rifle over his right shoulder - it was common for Iraqis to carry weapons - but he did not realise there were four paratroopers nearby.

One of the paratroopers began shooting from about 6 metres away, reportedly without warning, killing Mr Jabar immediately.

About 10 days later, a group of paratroopers visited Wa'el Rahim Jabar's uncle to express sympathy.

However, they stressed that the soldier had opened fire because the victim was carrying a weapon in public even though the British Army had warned Iraqis not to do this.

In June 2003, the family's lawyer gave a Coalition Provisional Authority representative a complaint about the killing, including a request for compensation.

By February 2004, the family had received no response and they were unaware that the Royal Military Police had been investigating the killing.

Mr Jabar was a student as well as a baker working to support his mother, wife and two children.

HAZAM JUMAH KATI AND ABED ABD AL-KARIM HASSAN

(courtesy of Amnesty International)
The widow and children of Hazam Jumah Kati

On 4 August 2003 soldiers from the B Company of the First Battalion the King's Regiment opened fire in Hay al-Shuhada, al-Majdiyeh, killing Hazam Jumah Kati, an unemployed man aged about 60, and Abed Abd al-Karim Hassan, an unemployed man aged about 25.

The two men had left their homes, unarmed, to see why there had been shots fired in their neighbourhood. It turned out that Iraqis nearby had fired into the air to mark the death of a local sheikh.

About 15 minutes after the gunfire, a UK military patrol arrived. They opened fire when they saw Mr Kati and Mr Hassan walking back home.

Jumah Kati, Hazam's father, told Amnesty International that soldiers told them two people had been killed.

"I said to Captain Tai: 'Why did you kill?' He said: 'I am sorry. There was a mistake. I apologize.'

"I repeated the question: 'Why did you kill them?' He said: 'It was dark. One colleague was in a hurry. I am sorry. I don't accept such behaviour.'"

Army representatives visited the family to apologise, but made it clear that the army was not prepared to give compensation because it did not accept responsibility for the deaths.

Instead both families were offered a "donation" - 2m Iraqi dinars was made for the family of Mr Hassan and 3m Iraqi dinars for the family of Mr Kati.

A letter to the families said the patrol encountered two men, "who appeared to be armed and a direct threat to their lives, so they opened fire and killed them".

No investigation was initiated by the UK military authorities into the killings.

WALID FAYAY MAZBAN

Walid Fayay Mazban (courtesy of Amnesty International)

Walid Fayay Mazban, a 42-year-old driver, was shot dead on 24 August 2003 at a temporary checkpoint in Basra, by a soldier from the First Battalion the King's Regiment.

He was the only earner for his wife, two children and two parents.

Mr Mazban was fired on from behind after he had turned his minibus left at the junction near the checkpoint.

Kadhem Finjan Hussein, formerly Chairman of the Local Councils in North Basra, who participated in negotiations between Mr Mazban's family and the British Army, told Amnesty International that the representatives from the British Army had told him that soldiers at the checkpoint had seen Mr Mazban's vehicle swerving in a suspicious manner.

They had shouted "stop" in English at the vehicle. After it failed to stop, they had fired . Mr Mazban did not understand English and it is possible that he did not even hear the order to stop.

According to Hussein Kadhem Finjan Hussein, a UK officer offered to pay 2,000,000 Iraqi dinars to the family. The officer stressed that this did not amount to admission of any legal liability for the killing. After initial refusal, the family accepted the sum.

The family has not been told of any investigation into the circumstances of Mr Mazban's death. However, the armed forces minister said an investigation had been launched.

GHANEM KADHEM KATI

Ghanem Kadhem Kati (courtesy of Amnesty International)
Ghanem Kadhem Kati, 22, was shot on 1 January, 2004. He was standing outside his house, with his back to the soldier who shot him from about 50 metres.

Before the shooting, bullets had been fired in the air to celebrate a marriage in the neighbourhood, prompting a UK patrol to arrive in the area.

The Royal Military Police apparently launched an investigation into the killing, including interviewing eyewitnesses, photographing the house and in February exhuming the body.

The family were not told how to apply for compensation.




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