Jack Straw to meet slain reporter's family

By Jennifer Sym, PA

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has agreed to meet the family of award-winning documentary maker James Miller after a jury found he had been murdered by an Israeli soldier.

Following the jury’s decision at St Pancras Coroner’s Court in London last week, his bereaved family pressed for an immediate meeting with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Attorney General to discuss the case.

The Foreign Secretary, who met the family a month after the murder in 2003, has agreed to meet them again, but an appointment has not yet been confirmed by his office. The Miller Family has not heard from the Attorney General or the Prime Minister.

The Miller family’s solicitor, Louise Christian, said Miller’s death was "essentially murder of a civilian by a soldier". She added that there should therefore be a prosecution against those responsible under the Geneva Convention.

Miller was fatally shot in the neck by a soldier from the Israeli Defence Forces in the Gaza Strip on 2 May, 2003.

Miller, 34, was making Death in Gaza, a film about Palestinian children in the Rafah refugee camp, when he approached soldiers to ask if it was safe to leave the area. He was wearing a flak jacket with the letters "TV" written in bright fluorescent tape, while he shone a torch on a large white flag carried by his interpreter.

He was then shot three times.

Following the verdict that Miller had been murdered, his wife, Sophy, 35, said: "In the court room, it was wholly overwhelming, hearing the unanimous verdict that James had been murdered, and finally hearing it after three years.

Coming away it is a relief that all the evidence has actually been seen for what it is and for what we have known for three years. And that a jury unanimously concluded that James was deliberately killed, that he was murdered."

During the inquest, she had named the Israeli soldier who shot her husband as first lieutenant Haib from the Bedouin Desert Reconnaissance Battalion, who was leading the unit at the time of Mr Miller’s shooting. He is still serving in the military and has never been charged or prosecuted over the shooting.

The family’s statement added: "[The verdict] was the truth the Israeli authorities knew from the very beginning, but one that has had to be prised out in the face of obstruction and deceit by the Israeli perpetrators."

The Israeli Embassy in London said in a statement: "Israel regrets the tragic death of James Miller. The recent wave of terrorism has taken thousands of lives and Israelis know all to well the pain involved in such loss.

"After a very thorough investigation using laboratories in Israel and abroad and after reviewing all available evidence, it was not possible to reach a conclusion that could provide a basis for proceedings under criminal law. These considerations regarding evidence are relevant in all legal systems, including the UK."

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