Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Red Cap Families' New Hope for Justice; Iraqi Minister Vows to Track Down Killers

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Red Cap Families' New Hope for Justice; Iraqi Minister Vows to Track Down Killers

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul James Chief Reporter

THE parents of North soldiers murdered in Iraq yesterday spoke of a renewed hope that their killers will be brought to justice nearly five years on from their deaths.

Simon Miller, 21, from Washington, and Paul Long, 24, from South Shields, were among six military policemen killed after an estimated 400 Iraqis descended on a police station in the town of Majar al-Kabir in June 2003.

But in a letter to their parents, Iraqi interior minister Jawad Al Boulani has vowed to track down the killers after a letter from three of the families implored the Iraqi government to find the culprits.

In his letter, Mr Al Boulani said: "I promise you that I will do my best by exerting every means to reach the criminals and bring them to justice.

"I hope that there will come a day when you will be here to see the criminals being tried before justice and also a procurement of a verdict against them, God willing.

"The blood of your sons has become part of the price of future generations to live in freedom."

It is the first time the families have had any such promise from the Iraqi government to arrest their killers.

The letter says the soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice and continues: "Without the actions of honourable men, such as your sons, positive changes would not have taken place."

In February 2006, a court in Baghdad issued arrest warrants for eight suspects but nobody has been detained.

Yesterday Cpl Miller's father John, 56, from Usworth, said that reading the letter had brought back emotions for him and wife Marilyn, 48. Their elder son Jon, now 29, is also in the Army and is currently stationed in Germany.

Mr Miller said: "We have never had promises. Before, they were just saying they were doing their best.

"When the British pulled out of Basra, one thing we said was, 'Our son died for nothing'.

When we read this letter it gave us renewed vigour, renewed hope and optimism. "His words were very touching and were very emotional for us to read.

"It is worded in a way that is far better than anything that anyone from our Government has ever done for us. …

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