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MEP highlights cancer death of brave Black Country soldier for International Day of Action Against Uranium Weapons

November 5, 2009 3:50 PM
liz lynne

Liz Lynne has been a longstanding campaigner for arms control and to ban Depleted Uranium weapons

LibDem Euro MP Liz Lynne is backing the International Day of Action Against Uranium Weapons tomorrow (Nov 6th) by repeating her call for the UK and other EU states to ban Depleted Uranium weapons.

The West Midlands MEP said the campaign had renewed impetus after the recent landmark decision by an inquest jury sitting at Smethwick Council House that a Black Country soldier's fatal cancer had probably been caused by exposure to Depleted Uranium (DU) weaponry.

Lance Corporal Stuart Dyson, who cleaned tanks which fired DU shells in the 1991 Gulf War, died in June 2008 from colon cancer which spread to his liver and spleen aged just 39. The soldier, from Brownhills, became ill shortly after leaving the army in 1992.

Liz Lynne was a co-author of the European Parliament's 2008 Resolution, which called for moves towards an EU-wide ban on the use of Depleted Uranium. She has also backed efforts by the UN to outlaw DU weapons, which are still used by Britain, France and Greece in the EU as well as by the USA and Israel. They have been blamed for a big rise in cancers among civilians in areas where DU shells have been fired, notably Iraq and Lebanon, and also among soldiers and aircrew handling them.

Speaking in Brussels, Liz Lynne said: "The Day of Action tomorrow will be used by campaigners all over the world to highlight the madness of using these weapons.

"I have repeatedly called for an international treaty establishing an immediate moratorium on the use, development production, stockpiling, transfer and testing of depleted uranium weapons as well as the destruction or recycling of existing stocks.

"The decision by the jury that Stuart Dyson's death was probably caused by radiation exposure is hugely significant. I hope that the MoD will give a considered response to the report on the death sent to them by the coroner, who was rightly very concerned by the MoD's attitude to the case."

After the jury verdict in September, Black Country coroner Robin Balmain said he would send a report on the death to the Secretary of State for Defence under Rule 43 of the Coroners' Rules, after the MoD chose not to send their own expert witness to the inquest.

Mr Balmain described the scientific evidence presented to the jury as 'persuasive'.

''What action is taken is no doubt a difficult political decision, but what I am certain of is that action needs to be taken."

ENDS