The widow of a British cameraman shot by Israeli soldiers in Gaza in 2003 has accused the Israeli and British authorities of delaying the investigations into her husband’s death.
Testifying at a London inquest, Sophy Miller said she believed the motive was to frustrate and to eventually force them to abandon their fight to prosecute his killer.
Sophy’s husband James Miller, 34, was shot in the neck by a soldier in the Gaza-Egypt border area of Rafah in May 2003 while filming a documentary about the impact of violence on children in the region.
She told the inquest jury that the Israeli army had repeatedly given out misleading evidence about her husband’s death.
"They put out statements almost immediately saying that there had been a gun battle and that James had walked into a gun battle," she said. "We know from military reports that there had been no gun battle."
The Israeli government and British authorities had promised to do a thorough investigation; but it has been the family that has had to "produce, investigate and provide the evidence in order to bring any form of justice and to date he hasn’t received any," she told the hearing at St. Pancras Coroners Court in London.
It was alleged that during Sophy’s three trips to Israel after the death of her husband, she was put under pressure from Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff in Jerusalem to accept the Israeli post-mortem examination, conducted without the presence of an independent observer.
The widow has accused the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) of misleading her and said that the Lieutenant who killed her husband had given six testimonies, all of which were conflicting.
Daniel Edge, a television producer who was one of Miller’s team of four and witnessed Miller’s death, told the inquest about his attempts to help his colleague after he was shot by an Israeli soldier in Gaza three years ago.
Begging for help
Edge told the 10-member jury that he begged the Israeli soldiers who shot him for help. He had been only metres from Miller when he was shot.
"We realized our only hope, James’s only hope, lay in trying to get the very soldiers who shot him to come up and help him," he said in the hearing session.
The producer said that after the repeated cries for help, the Israeli armed personnel carrier rolled forward from the direction where the shots were fired and a stretcher was tossed down to the group of journalists struggling in the mud.
"It was very muddy, we couldn’t carry the stretcher. We dropped it and James fell off – it was terrible."
The inquest was shown a footage shot by another cameraman who was at the scene of Miller’s death and captured the incident.
Last year an Israeli army officer, who was commanding the unit at the time of the killing, was cleared by a court martial of charges that he illegally used his weapon in Miller’s death.
The verdict came despite a military court recommendation that harsh disciplinary action be taken against the officer.
While military prosecutors could not prove that the lieutenant killed Miller, they did say he fired in contravention of standing rules of engagement, for which he should be punished.
Miller’s widow and the British government have protested the acquittal.
*this article was taken from aljazeera.net