Charges dropped against Iraqis accused of Red Cap murders

Five Iraqis accused of the
murder of six British Royal Military Police officers in 2003 have had their
charges dropped, the Ministry of Defence confirmed Sunday.

Armed forces minister Nick
Harvey wrote to the families of the Red Caps, saying the Iraqi judge had ruled
that five of seven suspects arrested earlier this year had no case to answer.

Two remaining suspects are
now expected to face trial over the deaths, according to Mr. Harvey.

He said: “The judge
indicated that, pending confirmation of the identity of one of the remaining
two suspects in custody, both will face trial.”

The Red Caps were killed
after a 400-strong Iraqi mob descended on a police station in Majar al-Kabir,
north of Basra, in June 2003.

The six RMP officers were
Sergeant Simon Hamilton-Jewell, 41, from Chessington, Surrey; Corporal Russell
Aston, 30, from Swadlincote, Derbyshire; Corporal Paul Long, 24, of South
Shields, Tyne and Wear; Lance Corporal Benjamin McGowan Hyde, 23, from
Northallerton, North Yorkshire; Lance Corporal Tom Keys, 20, from Bala, North
Wales; and Corporal Simon Miller, 21, from Washington, Tyne and Wear.

Relatives of the victims
have fought a long campaign for justice.

A court in Baghdad issued
warrants for the arrests in February 2006 but little progress was apparently

In January 2008, Iraqi
interior minister Jawad al-Boulani vowed to do his best to track down the
killers after a letter from three of the families implored the Iraqi government
to find the culprits.

An MoD spokesman said: “The
UK government is committed to seeing the killers brought to justice.”