Father of soldier murdered in Iraq blasts Government for hounding troops but

first_imgThe father of a soldier murdered by an Iraqi mob has accused the Government of “rank double standards” for hounding troops over alleged abuses while failing to pursue the insurgents who killed his son.Reg Keys said ministers had “all but given up” tracking down seven men who had been identified over the murders of six military policemen – known as “Redcaps” – in June 2003.Lance Corporal Tom Keys, 20, and five comrades were ambushed by a 500-strong mob and executed as they guarded a police station in one of the most notorious incidents of the Iraq conflict. It prompted Mr Keys to campaign to hold the Government to account, eventually standing against Tony Blair in the 2005 election. The call to scrap the Iraq and Afghanistan criminal investigations has been lent further support from mothers of soldiers killed in the conflicts.Carol Valentine, whose son Simon, 29, a sergeant, was killed by a bomb in Afghanistan, has launched a petition, with four others, to have Ihat and Operation Northmoor shut down.An MoD spokesman said: “We understand the continuing anguish suffered by families of the six military policemen who were murdered in Iraq in 2003. The MOD has gone to very great lengths to investigate the circumstances of these murders, to bring the insurgents responsible to justice, and to learn lessons and to minimise the risk of recurrence.”  Lance Corporal Tom Keys It just beggars belief that the Government is spending millions while there are murderers of Britons walking free in Iraq.Reg Keys Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Reg Keys with a photo of his son Tom John and Marilyn Miller, the parents of Corporal Simon Miller, 21, one of the others killed at Majar al-Kabir, have also complained of having no justice for their son’s death while British soldiers were being investigated by the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (Ihat) and Operation Northmoor, which is looking at alleged abuses in Afghanistan. “I’m disgusted and outraged at the number of allegations against British troops in Iraq,” said Mr Miller, 64. “What is even worse is that there is no reciprocation for the brutal murder of my son and his five Royal Military Police comrades. If this isn’t the ultimate betrayal, then nothing is.”After a request under the Freedom of Information Act, Mr Miller obtained witness statements taken shortly after the Red Caps were killed in June 2003.  These show that local police gave a list of nine suspects to the Ministry of Defence.The documents disclose that 16 witnesses described what happened on the day, including graphic details of how insurgents armed with AK-47 assault rifles fired at the police station where the British soldiers were and shouted “kill them”. Reg Keys with a photo of his son TomCredit:ANDREW PRICE/REX Despite this, not one Iraqi has been held responsible for the slaughter. The MoD has released the witness statements – but the suspects’ names have been redacted. The Millers, who live in Washington, Tyne and Wear, have said it is “absolute nonsense” that they were not able to know the names of the suspects, nor of the interpreter who was with their son at the time so they could speak to him.“They keep telling us it is for data protection reasons and that they don’t want to jeopardise any court case in Iraq,” Mr Miller said.  “It is absolute nonsense. They don’t want us to know because they don’t want to do anything about it. I want to know who killed my son. I want to be able to use those names to fight for justice. I want to see the Iraqis investigated like we are investigating our guys.”After the murders, it emerged that the Redcaps had been sent lightly armed and unprepared into an area known to be dangerous, and left without proper communication or back-up. Their grieving parents have faced a string of legal hurdles in getting to the truth. Earlier this year, they were blocked from finding out the names of their sons’ alleged killers because of “data protection”.Mr Keys, 54, said: “It just beggars belief that the Government is spending millions while there are murderers of Britons walking free in Iraq.“A coroner delivered an explicitly clear unlawful killing verdict and this Government have not given a damn.“Jack Straw stood up after they died and vowed to bring these killers to justice. It’s a betrayal that the only people now facing criminal inquiries are our own men and women sacrificed to an unjust war.”He added:  “It sends a signal that you can kill a soldier with impunity whereas the other way around any soldier caught out committing even just a common assault, they will come down on like a ton of bricks. It’s like it’s open season to kill a British soldier and nobody goes after you.” Lance Corporal Tom Keyslast_img read more