Miller family steps up pressure on Israelis

By WalŽ Azeez

The campaign for a formal criminal investigation into the death of British journalist James Miller stepped up this week as members of his family arrived in Jerusalem to meet representatives of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Israeli Defence Force.

They were accompanied by reporter Saira Shah and producer Dan Edge, colleagues who were filming with Miller in the Gaza town of Rafah when he was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers on 2 May.

The IDF has also agreed to the presence of a family representative at the investigations into Miller’s death. Freddy Mead, an independent ballistics expert who identified the bullet that killed Miller, will be allowed to attend the IDF ballistics examination on the guns involved. The Advocate General of the IDF has ordered that the guns and rifles used by the soldiers be secured for examination. The date of the IDF ballistics examination is still to be confirmed.

Meanwhile, the campaign being co-ordinated from the UK by Miller’s mother appeared to bear fruit on Monday night, when the Prime Minister and the visiting Israeli premier Ariel Sharon discussed the matter.

Eileen Miller, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, had earlier urged Tony Blair to bring up her son’s case during his meeting Sharon. “We hope that this week when Ariel Sharon is here that Jack Straw and Tony Blair are not just talking about the [Arab-Israeli peace] road map but justice for a Briton with a white flag who was killed,” she said.

A Downing Street spokeswoman confirmed it had been brought up. “The Prime Minister did raise the case of James Miller and Tom Hurndall [the peace activist also killed by soldiers in Gaza]. Ariel Sharon expressed regret at what had happened, understood how important this issue was and undertook to keep us closely informed of their enquiries.”

The discussion follows requests for an investigation into Miller’s shooting by the Foreign Office, Channel 4, Reporters Without Borders and the International Federation of Journalists.

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