Bereaved families of British Servicemen threaten legal action against the authorities if The Chilcot Report into the Iraq war is not published by year’s end.
Wales Online reports:
Sir John Chilcot treated families with “contempt” and acted with “astonishing” hypocrisy, the group claimed.
Reg Keys, whose son Lance Corporal Tom Keys was killed in Iraq in 2003 aged 20, is among the 29-strong group of families incensed by the Maxwellisation process for the report.
This allows witnesses to respond to criticism before the report is published.
Mr Keys, 63, who was living in Llanuwchllyn, near Bala, Gwynedd, at the time of his son’s death, said: “It’s a public inquiry and it’s tipped in favour of all those people (senior politicians and military figures) rather than the families themselves.”
Mr Keys, who now lives in Hollywood, Birmingham, added: “We feel he (Sir John) has been hypocritical because he’s going to just print a watered down version.”
Lawyers for the group had given the chairman a deadline, which expired last month, to set out a timetable for Maxwellisation before publication.
The group put the legal action on hold following Sir John’s announcement the process has been completed, but warned it will go to the High Court if plans to publish by December are not set out.
The group’s letter reads: “We write to you today to inform you that, in the absence of any reasonable, transparent and full explanation why you cannot, we expect you to write to the Prime Minister within one month with a date for publication, which should be by the end of the year.
“Again, any date beyond that must be fully justified. By your own admission, now Maxwellisation is over, there is nothing to prevent you doing this. If you fail to do so, we will continue with our legal challenge.”
Bewildered by refusal
The families said they did “not believe” the completion of Maxwellisation days before the launch of legal action was a “coincidence” and said they were “bewildered” when Sir John refused to explain how the system was managed.
They claimed individuals involved who may be criticised had “seen their careers flourish while our own lives have been ruined” and accused the inquiry of giving the witnesses “every attention and possible courtesy” while families had been “side-lined and ignored”.
“While they were given the assistance of tax-payer funded government lawyers, you threatened us with costs for even daring to challenge you,” they wrote.
“You claim that your Inquiry is open and fair – maybe to the Maxwellees, but not to us. What you claim and how you have treated us are quite different. It is with regret that we must tell you that such hypocrisy is astonishing.”
They added: “Instead of due care and concern, we feel you have treated us with contempt.”
Wynford Francis, 71, whose son Lance Corporal Ryan Francis, 23, of 2nd Battalion, The Royal Welsh, was killed on July 7, 2007, says he expects “nothing” to come of the report.
Mr Francis, from Llanelli, whose son died in Basra as a result of a roadside bomb, said: “If national security is involved it (the report) is going to be watered down isn’t it?
“The truth will never come out and we’re in the same place in Iraq now as before – there’s no improvement.”
Sir John has said he faces further work in evaluating the last of the responses linked to Maxwellisation to complete the inquiry, which was launched in 2009.
He has promised to write to the Prime Minister with a timetable as soon as he is able.
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