British soldiers’ families sue government on deaths in Afghanistan

This video from England says about itself:

Military Families Against the War Peace Camp – 22nd & 23rd September 2006.

Music by Peggy Seeger.

From British weekly The Observer:

Families sue MoD over air victims’ right to life

Afghan spy plane deaths were unlawful, historic test case is to be told

* Jamie Doward and Mark Townsend

* Sunday August 31 2008

Families of servicemen killed when their Nimrod spy plane exploded in the British military’s biggest loss of life since the Falklands War are to sue the government under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), claiming it failed to respect their right to life.

In what promises to be a historic and controversial legal test case that could trigger scores of similar claims from British military personnel serving around the world, the families will tomorrow issue proceedings against the Secretary of State for Defence, Des Browne, alleging the government failed to offer adequate protection to men by minimising the risks of a fire on board the plane.

It will be the first time the Ministry of Defence has faced a legal challenge under the ECHR and the case is likely to cause a furore as it raises complex questions about the extent to which the government can be liable for the deaths of military personnel killed in war zones overseas. It will also refocus the debate around the military’s preparedness for combat and the condition of the equipment being used by the armed forces in theatres of war.

The RAF Nimrod XV230 Nimrod exploded on 2 September 2006 in Afghanistan, killing all 14 servicemen on board including Benjamin Knight, 25, and Steven Swarbrick, 28, whose families are launching the legal action.

Evidence presented at the inquest into the mens’ deaths highlighted a series of faults with the plane, which exploded after an airborne refuelling operation. The coroner, Andrew Walker, heard how the plane had no fire detection and suppression system and that there were serious design flaws with the way it had been modified that meant ducts were prone to overheat. However, a safety code drawn up for the plane in 2001 considered the possibility of it overheating after refuelling ‘improbable’.

Walker was scathing about the RAF and the MoD. He said the aircraft had ‘never been airworthy’ and called for ‘this cavalier approach to safety to come to an end’. Largely on the strength of the evidence presented at the inquest, the families have now decided to start legal action against the government.

1 thought on “British soldiers’ families sue government on deaths in Afghanistan

  1. Pingback: British Iraq war inquiry, still no publication | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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