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UK soldier who refused to go to Iraq found guilty

Written by: Staff
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ALDERSHOT, England, Apr 13, (Reuters) A British Air Force doctor who refused to go to Iraq was found guilty of disobeying orders by a court martial today.

Australian-born Malcolm Kendall-Smith refused to go to Iraq in 2005, arguing the war was a crime. The judge ruled that the British presence in Iraq was legal and told the five-officer panel acting as a jury to ignore the officer's arguments.

The case is the first of its kind in Britain over the war in Iraq.

Kendall-Smith sat motionless as the president of the panel pronounced him guilty of five counts, one for refusing to go to Iraq and four for refusing to train and prepare.

Before the panel withdrew to consider his sentence, which could be announced later today, Kendall-Smith's lawyer Philip Sapsford described him to the court as ''a man of great moral courage''.

Kendall-Smith, holds both British and New Zealand citizenship, could face an unlimited jail term.

The judge ruled that orders for British troops to deploy to Iraq in 2005 were legal because the British presence was covered by a United Nations Security Council resolution passed after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

REUTERS SHB PM1752

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