Reservist appeals against ruling

A Muslim RAF reservist who was disciplined for refusing to fight in the Iraq war on religious grounds appeared in court yesterday to appeal against the ruling.

MUSLIM RESERVIST APPEALS AGAINST WAR-REFUSAL RULING

By Neville Dean, PA News

A Muslim RAF reservist who was disciplined for refusing to fight in the Iraq war on religious grounds appeared in court yesterday to appeal against the ruling.

Moshin Khan, 24, was arrested and charged with going absent without leave from his base at RAF Honington, near Bury St Edmunds, after being called up for duty in January this year.


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It is alleged that Leading Aircraftsman Khan, a medic, went into hiding after being called up for pre-deployment training.

He was arrested under the Air Force Act 1955 and summoned to appear before his junior subordinate commander.

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A punishment of seven days' restrictions and nine days' forfeiture of pay was administered, but LAC Khan appealed and the disciplinary action was not taken.

LAC Khan appeared before a judge advocate at RAF Uxbridge in west London yesterday for his summary appeal hearing against the disciplinary ruling.

However, Mr Khan's barrister, James Mason, said the case could potentially have "ramifications" for the Armed Forces and asked for the parties to be given more time to consider the matter.

"We are concerned that potentially there could be consequences beyond a simple finding of an absent without leave case,' Mr Mason told the court.

"There is a certain interest in this case and as far as policy decisions are concerned it may have ramifications.

"Therefore it is our view that the more effective presentation of alleged material is in everyone's best interests.'

Judge Advocate Jack Bayliss decided to adjourn the case for a two-day hearing back at RAF Uxbridge beginning on September 11.

"I accept the application to adjourn this hearing,' said Judge Bayliss.

"It seems to me that, having read the appellant's skeleton argument that although on the face of it this is a matter of a disciplinary breach at the lower end of military discipline, there are issues raised by the appellant in this matter which are significant and important in principle and which may be important for the RAF as a consequence of any rulings which might emerge from these proceedings.'

LAC Khan left the RAF in 2001 but was called up on January 27 under the Reserve Forces Act for a nine-month term.

After yesterday's brief hearing, his solicitor, Justin Hugheston-Roberts, said: "This is a devout young Muslim who found himself in conflict with his religious beliefs and the requirements to carry out his military duty and this matter will now be decided by a court of law.'

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