who refused to fight in Iraq loses appeal
Khan, 25, from Ipswich in Suffolk, who had absented himself on the grounds
of conscientious objection and claimed his "right to manifest his
religion" under the European convention on human rights had been
breached, said he would take the case further.
Khan, a leading aircraftman and medic, was mobilised last year as the
threat of war in Iraq loomed. He had joined the RAF in 1999 but was
allowed to resign in 2001 because the job "did not suit him",
his QC, Nicholas Blake, said.
court was told he held a "genuine and deep belief" that the
pending war was wrong because it was not a question of a state exercising
Justice Rix and Mr Justice Forbes ruled that there was no interference
with his rights "by reason of the appellant's recall, arrest,
prosecution or conviction".
ruled that he had failed to make his concern known and had not formally
applied to be treated as a conscientious objector before his arrest. Lord
Justice Rix added that information to reservists could be improved, as it
"did not mention conscientious objection expressly".
the call-up papers did sufficiently identify "compassionate
reasons" as a relevant ground for objection.
Khan disappeared between February 24 and March 5 last year. The RAF
punished him with the loss of nine days' pay and seven days' privileges.
The sentence was upheld by the RAF's summary appeal court, which dismissed
his argument that he had a right to conscientious objection and that such
a right provided him with a defence to the charge against him.
Justice Rix said that well before the outbreak of war Mr Khan would have
been fully entitled to apply for discharge under Queen's Regulations on
the ground of conscientious objection. It remained "mysterious"
why Mr Khan did not invoke the procedure.
RAF is plainly entitled to maintain a system of reservist recall, and to
discipline those accepted back into service who go absent without leave,
and do so prior to raising any question of conscientious objection,"
the facts of the case there could be no breach of his "right to
manifest his religion" under article nine of the European convention
on human rights by being arrested and "very mildly punished".
facts were that: "He went absent without leave before any indication
whatsoever of any conscientious objection, despite every opportunity of
making his concerns known.
raising the issue in conversations during his absence, he never formally
applied to be treated as a conscientious objector prior to his arrest,
prosecution or at any relevant time".
Khan said he was disappointed that the court did not allow his appeal
outright, but was "heartened that it agreed that the right of
conscientious objection on religious grounds needed to be made clear in
said the case had been a matter of principle for him and "in the
light of the very high importance of this case for hundreds of thousands
of UK Muslims I shall be seeking to take this further."
RAF said it was pleased with the judgment, and that the court had accepted
the majority of its arguments.
A Territorial Army soldier will be court martialled at Catterick in North
Yorkshire on Monday on account of fake photographs published in the Daily
Mirror which appeared to show British troops abusing an Iraqi, the
Ministry of Defence said yesterday.
MacKenzie, 25, from Haslingden in Lancashire, served in Iraq with the 1st
Battalion, Queen's Lancashire Regiment. The Mirror apologised and Piers
Morgan was sacked as editor
refusing to kill