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Should the UK hand over people for trial if they face the death penalty?


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Iraq trial for UK death suspects

 

 

Two Iraqis accused of killing two British soldiers can be tried by Iraqi authorities despite a "real risk" they could face the death penalty.

 

Faisal Al-Saadoon and Khalaf Mufdhi are accused of murdering Staff Sgt Simon Cullingworth and Sapper Luke Allsopp.

 

The High Court has ruled it is lawful for them to be transferred from British custody and tried by an Iraqi court.

 

The men can remain in British military hands in Basra until a deadline on Monday to appeal the ruling.

 

Lord Justice Richards and Mr Justice Silber ruled the government can lawfully hand the suspects over to the Iraqi Higher Tribunal for trial, despite the risk they could face the death penalty.

 

'Difficult issues'

 

But they ordered the government not to remove them "outside British custody" before Monday at 1600 GMT to give their lawyers time to appeal.

 

Lord Justice Richards said the court had found it would be "wholly inappropriate" to stop Defence Secretary John Hutton handing the men over as it would "involve a breach of UK international obligations and an interference with the sovereignty of Iraq".

 

But he said the decision was made "notwithstanding that on our view they could face the real risk of the death sentence if convicted".

 

"We are seriously troubled by that conclusion. We regard the issues in the case as difficult and important."

 

Lawyers for the men have argued allowing them to stand trial in Iraq would violate both the European Convention on Human Rights and the 1998 Human Rights Act.

 

The Ministry of Defence, the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Justice say they have been given assurances at the "highest level" that both men will receive a fair trial and treatment, whatever the outcome of the case.

 

Phil Shiner, the solicitor representing Mr Al-Saadoon and Mr Mufdhi, said he was disappointed by the decision, but would appeal.

 

TV pictures

 

The murder of Staff Sgt Cullingworth, 36, and Sapper Allsopp, 24, both members of 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), caused anger in the UK, with then Prime Minister Tony Blair saying the two men had been executed by the Iraqi Army.

 

The soldiers were travelling as part of a convoy which was ambushed by Fedayeen militiamen on the outskirts of the town of Al Zubayr in southern Iraq on 23 March, 2003.

 

While half the convoy escaped, Staff Sgt Cullingworth, who was married with two sons, and Sapper Allsopp were taken to a local Baath party headquarters and then to an Iraqi intelligence base, where they were shot dead.

 

Photographs taken of the soldiers at the compound as they lay dying, surrounded by a baying mob, were later shown on the Arabic TV channel al-Jazeera.

 

The soldiers' graves were discovered a month later and their bodies were exhumed.

 

One of the families of the dead men has written to the Iraqi court and asked for clemency in the event that the former Iraqi soldiers are found guilty.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7791994.stm

 

 

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The death penalty is fine in my opinion - provided there is firm evidence that can show that the accused is 100% the culprit.

 

Is that ever actually possible?

 

How can 'firm evidence' be '100%'?

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I don't think we should without insisting that the death penalty is not applied, should they be found guilty of course.

 

I don't think we extradite to countries with the death penalty, unless a similar condition is accepted by the other country, so I don't see how this is different.

 

Respect to the family for what they've done, their actions make a much bigger statement than an execution ever could.

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I don't agree with it. Not just because the idea of being 100% guilty of something is a strange one, but also because I just don't agree with the idea of killing people. The only time I would kill someone myself is if they were going to kill me first and there was absolutely no other way of getting around them.

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Guest lankybellwipe

The death penalty is and shall remain, the biggest, and largest 'whodunnit' in the history of the 'yes or no' debarcle.

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The death penalty is fine in my opinion - provided there is firm evidence that can show that the accused is 100% the culprit.

 

Is that ever actually possible?

 

How can 'firm evidence' be '100%'?

 

Didn't really need the word 'firm' in there.

And is it ever possible? - probably not in the vast majority of cases - so therefore it wouldn't be used very often.

Goes back to the old argument about CCTV cameras etc and their image quality - I know your views on that.

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