April 13, 2006

UK soldier jailed for refusing to go to Iraq

ALDERSHOT (Reuters) - A British air force doctor who
refused to go to Iraq was jailed for eight months on Thursday
after being found guilty by a court martial of disobeying

Australian-born Malcolm Kendall-Smith refused to go to Iraq
in 2005, arguing the war was a crime. The judge ruled that the
British presence in Iraq was legal and told the five-officer
panel acting as a jury to ignore the officer's arguments.

The case is the first of its kind in Britain over the war
in Iraq.

Kendall-Smith sat motionless as the president of the panel
pronounced him guilty of five counts, one for refusing to go to
Iraq and four for refusing to train and prepare.

Kendall-Smith's lawyer Philip Sapsford described him to the
court as "a man of great moral courage."

The judge ruled that orders for British troops to deploy to
Iraq in 2005 were legal because the British presence was
covered by a United Nations Security Council resolution passed
after the fall of Saddam Hussein.