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Apr 6, 2006
Israeli soldier murdered Briton

Thursday 06 April 2006, 19:55 Makka Time, 16:55 GMT

An award-winning British cameraman shot dead in Gaza by an Israeli soldier was murdered, a London inquest has found.

James Miller was shot by a member of the Israeli Defence Forces in May 2003 in the Rafah refugee camp while making a documentary about Palestinian children caught up in fighting with Israel.

 

On Thursday, the jury spokeswoman told St Pancras Coroner's Court in London: "Based on the evidence laid before us, we, the jury, unanimously agree that this was an unlawful shooting with the intention of killing James Miller. Therefore we can come to no other conclusion than that Miller was indeed murdered.

 

"It is a fact that from day one of this inquest, the Israeli authorities have not been forthcoming in the investigation into the circumstances surrounding Miller's death."

 

Unlawful killing

 

Andrew Reid, the coroner, had told the jury that the only verdict it could return was one of unlawful killing, but that it had to determine whether Miller was murdered or the victim of manslaughter.

 

Witnesses had told the inquest that Israeli troops shot Miller at close range even though he wore journalist insignia and waved a white flag.

 

"We can come to no other conclusion than that Miller was indeed murdered"

Jury spokesman

Last April the Israeli army cleared an officer, identified only as Lieutenant H, of any wrongdoing in Miller's death, drawing an official protest from the British government.

 

In a statement, the Israeli embassy in London said it regretted Miller's death.

 

The statement said: "After a very thorough investigation using laboratories in Israel and abroad and after reviewing all the available evidence, it was not possible to reach a reliable conclusion that could provide a basis for proceedings under criminal law."

 

Award-winner

 

Miller's film Death in Gaza, completed by colleagues after his killing, shows the 34-year-old approaching an armoured vehicle in the dark before the fatal shots sounded.

 

Miller had been trying to ask the soldiers if it was safe to leave the area when he was shot in the neck.

 

In a statement after the verdict, the family said their efforts to investigate Miller's death had "finally been vindicated" by the jury's verdict, after a three-year struggle.

 

The family, critical of the authorities' efforts in investigating the death, had launched a private investigation, hiring a home office pathologist and an independent military expert to gather evidence.

 

Death in Gaza won three Emmy awards in 2005. Beneath the Veil, a documentary about life under Afghanistan's Taliban, which Miller made with journalist Shaira Shah, also won an Emmy.

Reuters
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Posted: Apr 6, 2006 7:33pm

 

 
 
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