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Government pledge compensation for killing by British forces

Leigh Day, lawyers for the family an Iraqi man unlawfully killed by British Forces, welcome announcement that Government will pay compensation

21 March 2015

Leigh Day has welcomed a pledge by the British government to pay compensation to the family of an Iraqi civilian who died following the use of “excessive force” by British soldiers in Iraq in May 2003.

The pledge was made in response to the findings of High Court judge, Sir George Newman, in his report for the Iraq Fatalities Investigations into the deaths of Iraqi civilians, Nadheem Abdullah and Hassan Abaas Said.

Leigh Day is instructed by the family of Mr Abdullah to seek compensation from the Ministry of Defence following his unlawful killing by members of the British Armed Forces on 11 May 2003.

The Iraqi Fatalities Investigation was established to fulfil the requirement of the British State to investigate breaches of Article 2 (“the right to life”) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mr Abdullah was killed after the vehicle in which he was travelling was stopped by a British patrol at a road block in Maysan Province, Iraq.

In a report spanning over 200 pages, Sir George Newham found that Mr Abdullah died from a blow or blows to the left side of his head, inflicted by one or more British soldiers.

The evidence indicates that Mr Abdullah was struck at least once by a rifle butt and at least once by a soldier’s helmet. It also suggests that the degree of force used was sufficient to cause a ruptured or fractured skull, causing a brain haemorrhage from which Mr Abdullah died on 12 May 2003.

Sir George Newham concluded that the force used by the soldiers was not needed to ensure Mr Abdullah’s compliance and that it was more violent than required by the circumstances.

The Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon, today expressed the government’s “regret” at the death of Mr Abdullah and pledged to pay compensation to his family.

Leigh Day welcome this statement and any future steps by the government to properly compensate the Abdullah family for their loss.

Leigh Day is instructed on a number of other cases involving allegations of unlawful killings of Iraqi civilians by British soldiers and we endorse Sir George Newham’s recommendation that focussed training on policing and peacekeeping roles in hostile and potentially life-threatening situations should be provided to any service personnel deployed on similar operations in the future.

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