The Guardian November 26, 2003


Iraqi family takes legal action
against British Government

British peace campaigners welcomed an Iraqi family's decision 
to take legal action against the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for 
the death of ten relatives in the illegal war on Iraq.

The Manchester-based Hamoodis will be making legal history, as it 
is possibly the first time that any government has faced a civil 
claim for unlawful killing or its role in a war.

Three generations of the family died on April 5, when coalition 
forces destroyed their home in Basra, southern Iraq. The troops 
had been hunting Saddam Hussein's cousin Ali Hasan Majid, who was 
living in a house nearby.

Mazin Hamoodi, who left Iraq 27 years ago, recalled the painful 
moment when he first heard of the slaughter of his family.

"I found out in the news that my family had gone. I am still 
feeling it now. I feel dead inside, to be honest."

The MoD said that it would contest the action and claimed that 
its troops had acted "legally and properly".

Civil rights lawyer Imran Khan said that the claim could lead to 
some redress for the family, as well as testing the legality of 
the aggression against Iraq.

He said that, if the case is won, "that would suggest that the 
war was illegal because it was based on some misconstrued 
assumptions".

Stop the War Coalition convenor Lindsey German wished the 
Hamoodis "every success" in winning their claim.

"The government was prepared to act illegally and recklessly and 
now it deserves to be held to account for the killing of 
thousands of innocent people", she added.

Veteran peace campaigner and Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn also 
welcomed the action.

"This is one of many legal actions that will be taken all over 
the world concerning the occupation of Iraq", he predicted.

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