British major to face eighth inquiry into Iraqi teen’s death
Major Robert Campbell is to face an eighth inquiry into the death of 19-year-old Said Shabram.
A former British Army officer said he is “broken” after learning he is being investigated for the eighth time over the death of an Iraqi teenager 15 years ago.
Major Robert Campbell, of the Royal Engineers, told the Telegraph he will face another official inquiry into his conduct in 2003 following the death of 19-year-old Said Shabram.
Major Campbell and two colleagues were investigated after Mr Shabram drowned in a river but the Army Prosecuting Authority did not press charges.
News of the latest inquiry comes just weeks after Major Campbell, who specialises in ordnance disposal, received a medal for good conduct and long service.
Mr Shabram’s death is to be investigated by the Iraq Fatality Investigations (IFI) – a government funded body that describes itself as “a form of inquest and judicial inquiry”.
It says on its website its task is to determine the circumstances in which a death occurred and is not concerned with deciding criminal or civil liability
Major Campbell, who is now disabled after being wounded in service, told the paper: “This sordid process has broken me. I was assured it was finally over and shortly after that I received a long service and good conduct medal.
“Last week I received an email telling me they are starting another investigation, which after seven investigations seems unspeakably cruel and vindictive.”
He added: “No other army in the world that I know of treats its soldiers as political fodder like this.”
After the three soldiers were cleared of manslaughter, there were repeated follow up inquiries into the incident, including a civil case, and an investigation by the now defunct Iraq Historical Allegations Team (Ihat).
Ihat was set up as an independent body to investigate allegations of murder and torture by British troops in Iraq.
It was disbanded last year after it emerged it had taken on thousands of claims without any credible evidence.
This is not acceptable now, as it wasn't when we were getting rid of IHAT. I do not accept that the UK Government cannot protect it's soldiers from experiences like this. If we have to go again, we will go again. https://t.co/nHMwlEnqzi— Johnny Mercer MP (@JohnnyMercerUK) February 22, 2018
Following the revelation Major Campbell would face an eight investigation, MP for Plymouth Moor View Johnny Mercer tweeted: “This is not acceptable now, as it wasn’t when we were getting rid of Ihat.
“I do not accept that the UK Government cannot protect it’s soldiers from experiences like this. If we have to go again, we will go again.”
He added: “Iraq Fatalities Inquiry was founded as a result of court cases involving Phil Shiner. It is not plausible to continue this process. Requires political leadership; let’s show it.”
Phil Shiner was a human rights lawyer who has since been struck off after it emerged he passed on thousands of unsubstantiated claims about British troops to Ihat via his firm Public Interest Lawyers.