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Simon backs justice for HJ
The Surrey Comet campaign for a public inquiry into the death of Chessington Red Cap Simon Hamilton-Jewell has won the support of Falklands war veteran Simon Weston.
Mr Weston OBE, a respected campaigner in the futility of war, was passionate about the need for a public inquiry into the death of Sergeant Hamilton-Jewell, known as HJ, and his five comrades.
The group was gunned down by an Iraqi mob at a police station in Al Majar Al-Kabir last June, seven weeks after the war was declared over.
The Hamilton-Jewell family are fighting for a public inquiry to find the truth surrounding the men's deaths. They believe the Army should not be allowed to investigate itself, and fear a cover-up.
Mr Weston said: "This campaign is hugely important.
"We need a public inquiry so this can never be allowed to happen again.
"We need to be in a situation where people in charge cannot walk away from mistakes if they have made them.
"These six young men lost their lives after being put in a very hostile environment, which was clearly underestimated.
"They were left woefully inadequately supplied.
"They didn't have the right equipment and that can only come down to one thing it wasn't available.
"A series of mistakes and lack of investment has led to this taking place and by all accounts their deaths were preventable.
"We should make sure nobody is put in that position again."
The former Welsh Guardsman, who suffered horrific burns in a bomb attack in 1982 on the British troop ship Sir Galahad, said an internal investigation would not guarantee the truth be told.
He said: "Are the people who carry out the investigation going to be allowed to publish the details of what they find? That is what worries me.
"We all know the pressure the leadership is under at the moment and it is likely they don't want the worst news put into the public domain."
The Justice for HJ campaign has won the backing of Kingston and Surbiton MP Edward Davey, Kingston's Greater London Assembly member Tony Arbour, Chessington British Legion and Kingston Peace Council.
Mr Davey urged Comet readers to sign the petition. He said: "I am delighted to support the Surrey Comet campaign. Although his relatives are not my constituents, this brave Chessington man deserves justice. I hope ministers will respond positively."
Mr Arbour said although he does not doubt the integrity of an internal inquiry, he believes the public will have more confidence in the findings of an independent investigation.
He said: "If the public thinks there is a cover up, an internal inquiry can't possibly be satisfactory.
"The reason I am signing the petition is because I want there to be public confidence in the result of an investigation, which I think can only come from a public inquiry."
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