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Tom's killers may never be captur ed; Iraq leaders announce amnesty for militants.

Byline: MATT WITHERS

THE Iraqi mob that killed a North Wales soldier may never be brought to justice.

Responsibility for investigating the deaths of six Redcaps, including 20-year-old Tom Keys, has been handed to the Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI) by the Ministry of Defence.

And his father Reg, from Llanuwchllyn, near Bala, said he was ``disappointed but not surprised'' by the decision. He said he would now focus his energy on pursuing the senior officers who, he claims, put the Redcaps in such a dangerous situation.

Iraq's new governors have already announced an amnesty for all militants who fought the US-British coalition forces, which means the killers could avoid punishment.

Military policeman Keys was shot 27 times when a 400 strong Iraqi mob attacked the ill-equipped Redcaps at the town of Al Majar al-Kabir last June.

Six soldiers were killed, the Army's single largest loss in one day since the first Gulf War in 1991.

Yesterday defence secretary Geoff Hoon told the House of Commons jurisdiction in the case, along with the killings of two other soldiers in a separate incident, was being passed to the Iraqis.

He said: ``I have agreed that it would be appropriate for the CCCI to be invited to take on these cases.

``To that end, translations of the cases developed so far have been passed to the CCCI. ''

Reg Keys added: ``To be quite frank, it's always been a concern of mine once power was handed over they'd literally just wash their hands of the case. Now my fears have come to fruition.

``We were led to believe they had the names of the killers.

``They'll just walk free now. Iraq won't pursue the case. In the great scheme of things, the death of six lads is nothing.

``I'll now turn to getting those responsible for putting those six young men into that position. ''

Plaid Cymru parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd, who has repeatedly raised the massacre with the Mo D, described the move as ``a disgrace''.

He said: ``This is devastating news for [Mr Keys] and the other families who have lost loved ones. ''

CAPTION(S):

Lance Corporal Thomas Keys was killed in an ambush by Iraqi soldiers who now may never be brought before the courts
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 9, 2004
Words:375
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