Iraqi Teen Receives £2m Payout From MoD

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  1. By Sky News SkyNews - 1 hour 49 minutes agoA young Iraqi who was accidentally shot by a British soldier is to get £2 million from the Ministry of Defence - a sum far greater than that paid to its own injured troops.

    The unnamed man, who was 13 at the time, suffered severe spinal injuries when a soldier he had befriended dropped his gun, causing the weapon to discharge.

    He later moved to the UK for treatment and took a civil claim for negligence through the High Court.

    The Ministry of Defence has insisted his case was a one-off, but its bumper payout is likely to fuel further debate over the level of compensation for wounded service personnel.

    Under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme for injured troops, the maximum lump sum a wounded serviceman or woman can receive is £285,000.

    However the MoD rejected comparisons with the scheme, pointing out that its compensation also provided a lifetime income.

    There were also fears among opposition MPs that it could set a precedent, opening the way for further big compensation claims by Iraqis against the British Government.

    The award is far higher than anything paid to Iraqis who made compensation claims against the British through the Iraqi courts

    "It is not a precedent, it is an exceptional case. It is not expected that there are any other cases of such severity," an MoD spokesman said.

    The MoD explained that the high payout reflected both the costs of caring for him for the rest of his life and the fact that the MoD had accepted that the shot which injured him was a "negligent discharge".

    Liberal Democrat treasury spokesman Vince Cable warned that other Iraqis may now try to take action through the courts in the UK.

    "The Government claims that this is a completely unique case, but it is very difficult to believe that that is the case," he told Channel 4 News.

    "If Iraqis were able to get access to British courts, they would clearly be entitled to much higher levels of compensation, based on this precedent.

    He added: "The costs of that could be very, very considerable indeed, adding to all the other costs of the Iraq war."