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Family of killed Iraqi demand damages

Published on 29/01/2004

29 January 2004

AMSTERDAM — The family of an Iraqi man allegedly shot and killed by a Dutch peacekeeping marine have reportedly demanded compensation from the Dutch government.

The deceased’s cousin confirmed the compensation claim on Wednesday night and identified the victim as Abdullah Mouchar Mocha’aloui, aged about 30.

Speaking on television current affairs programme Nova, he said the man lived in the village of al-Khidr and was a sheep herder.

The man was allegedly shot and killed as Dutch marines tried to disperse a group of about 70 Iraqi looters near the Iraqi city of As Samawah on 27 December. A 43-year-old sergeant major, Erik O., was arrested and flown home to the Netherlands on allegations of murder or manslaughter.

The Arnhem Court ordered his release on 6 January, saying there was insufficient evidence warranting his continued detention. Amid sharp criticism of the prosecution’s handling of the case, Defence Minister Henk Kamp has indicated the marine might soon be allowed to return to his colleagues in Iraq.

But an Iraqi eye witness claims the man was shot in the back and asserts that there was no reason for shooting, dismissing any suggestions of looting: “There was nothing wrong and there was no uprising against the Dutch. And then it happened, he was shot and killed by a Dutch soldier”.

Furthermore, the coroner’s report talks of a corpse with a bullet wound in the back. Amid claims of a mix-up with bodies, the coroner also said that no other body with bullet wounds was admitted to the As Samawah hospital that day.
The on duty doctor of the first aid post in the al-Khidr village — where the body was initially taken to — confirmed the coroner’s statement. Also, no other shooting incidents were reported that day.

But according to Jan Knoops, the lawyer of the accused marine, the bullet wound of the victim taken to the hospital in As Samawah was not connected with the shooting incident involving Dutch soldiers. He said the man was involved in another shooting.

An extra team of military police investigators is presently in Iraq to complete additional forensics research. The investigation is expected to be completed next week and initial inquiries have indicated that the allegations against Erik O. are unfounded.

Meanwhile, the body of Abdullah Mouchar Mocha’aloui has been buried in Najaf, about 230km from As Samawah and the family has refused permission to open his grave for further examinations.

With 1,100 Dutch peacekeeping troops stationed in Iraq until at least mid-year, the ongoing investigation into the shooting has sparked discussion about the orders of violent military engagement. But Minister Kamp has refused to modify the orders issued to the troops in Iraq.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news