Details of Death of UK Scientist to be Sealed for 70 Years

Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Dr. David Kelly

The death of British weapons expert Dr. David Kelly in July 2003 was sufficient to raise questions, coming only days after it was revealed he had challenged one of the major claims for invading Iraq four months earlier. Now, the fact that details about the investigation of Kelly’s suicide will be kept secret for 70 years has produced speculation over the true cause of his death.

Kelly was working for Britain’s Ministry of Defense in 2002 when he was asked to review a document purporting to show evidence of Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction. He reportedly objected to the claim that Saddam Hussein’s government had the capability of launching biological or chemical weapons within 45 minutes, and in June 2003, a BBC story argued the evidence against Iraq had been ‘sexed up’ to justify the U.S.-led invasion. It was then revealed that Kelly had been the source of the story, and days later, his body was found in the woods near his home in Oxfordshire.
An official inquisition, led by Lord Hutton, concluded in 2004 that Kelly killed himself by cutting his wrist with a blunt gardening knife. But it was only recently discovered that Huttton ordered all records from the investigation sealed—medical reports and photos of Kelly’s body—for 70 years and witness statements not used in evidence for 30 years.
Dr. Michael Powers, a doctor who is challenging the official report along with 12 other physicians, told the Daily Mail that the decision to shutter evidence “does give rise, perhaps unnecessarily, to a suspicion that information relevant to these circumstances was kept out of the public eye. The surprising thing to me is that if this report supports the conclusion that the medical cause of death was suicide, why does it need to be locked up for 70 years?”
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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