‘Broken’ British Army major cleared seven times faces new Iraq probe
Decorated officer Robert Campbell says soldiers are treated as ‘political fodder’
A British Army major who has faced seven separate inquiries over the death of an Iraqi teenager 15 years ago is being investigated again.
Major Robert Campbell told The Daily Telegraph that he feels “broken” after being told he faces an eighth probe into the May 2003 incident. He vehemently denies allegations that, along with two colleagues from the Royal Engineers, he forced 19-year-old Said Shabram into a river in Basra.
Campbell, a bomb disposal expert, and his two comrades was cleared of wrongdoing soon after the alleged incident. Military prosecutors declined to bring charges in 2006 following a detailed investigation by the Royal Military Police.
The three men, two of whom are still serving, “faced a three-year inquiry by the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (Ihat), a unit investigating claims against British forces that was wound up last year after the solicitor whose firm brought most of its cases was struck off for corruption and dishonesty”, says The Times.
“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,” Campbell told the Telegraph.
“Last week I received an email telling me they are starting another investigation, which after seven investigations seemed unspeakably cruel and vindictive. It has been 15 years and there have been no fewer than seven investigations and inquiries. No other army I know of treats its soldiers as political fodder like this.”
Conservative MP Johnny Mercer, a former army officer who led a parliamentary inquiry into Ihat, urged ministers to bring the investigations to an end.
The Ministry of Defence said: “The welfare of our personnel is of the utmost importance and we have a legal obligation to ensure the full facts of alleged incidents are known.”