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British Jury Says Death in Israel Was Murder

April 07, 2006|From the Associated Press

LONDON — The fatal shooting of an award-winning British filmmaker by an Israeli soldier was murder, a jury in a London coroner's inquest said Thursday.

James Miller, 34, was shot in the neck by a soldier in the Gaza Strip in May 2003 while filming a documentary about the effects of violence on children in the region.

His family told the 10-member jury that Miller posed no threat and was shot in violation of criminal law and military rules of engagement.

British police who investigated the case agreed, and the coroner, Andrew Reid, told the jurors that a verdict of unlawful killing, whether murder or manslaughter, was the only one they could reach.

"Based on the evidence laid before us, we the jury unanimously agree it was unlawful shooting, with the intention to kill Mr. James Miller," the jury said. "Therefore, we can come to no other conclusion than that Mr. Miller was indeed murdered."

Miller's widow, Sophy, wept as the verdict was read. It is expected to have no legal effect, particularly because Israel has already acquitted the soldier.

The Israeli Embassy in London said it regretted Miller's death but a thorough investigation had found no basis for criminal proceedings.

Sophy Miller and the British government have protested the acquittal.

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