An RAF doctor found guilty yesterday of disobeying orders at a court martial after he refused to serve in Iraq, is to appeal against his conviction and sentence of eight months detention.
Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith was also dismissed from the RAF and ordered to pay £20,000 costs.
Following sentencing at the Aldershot court martial, his solicitor said in a statement that ‘now more so than ever he feels his actions were totally justified.
‘He would not, if placed in the same circumstances seek to do anything different.
‘As to the preliminary orders given in his trial, his and indeed the conviction and sentence that have now taken place, Dr Kendall-Smith has given very clear an unambiguous instructions to lodge an appeal with all haste.
‘In Dr Smith’s own words, “I have a very long way yet to travel and I have a great deal of further work yet to do. And I will now concentrate my efforts on that task. . . .
‘ “I would wish to thank all those people from all over the world and from all walks of life for their good wishes.
‘ “Their kind thoughts have helped sustain me through the past months. . . .
‘ “To take the decision that I did caused me great sadness But I feel I had no other choice”.’
Respect MP George Galloway condemned the court martial result.
Galloway said: ‘It’s an absolute disgrace that an illegal war resulted in an unjust conviction.
‘I hope he intends to appeal it all the way.
‘I will support him in any course of action he takes.’
Riad el Tahir of Friendship Across Frontiers told News Line: ‘The RAF doctor has taken a heroic stand against Blair.
‘He was the only man in the armed forces to tell Blair his policy was totally wrong and illegal.
‘I wish more people in the armed forces would follow his example.
‘I would urge all people who are opposed to the war to support his heroic action.
‘He was a private man, he didn’t seek publicity. He is just a genuine and humane person.
‘If there were more people like him the world would be a more peaceful place.’
During his court martial, Kendall-Smith had called the US-led war on Iraq an ‘imperial invasion and occupation’ and an ‘imperial campaign of military conquest’.
He added that it struck him as ‘incongruous and disturbing that the US air force published the phrase “global power for America” on their documentation during the conflict.’
The doctor, who holds a diploma in philosophy with the highest grades in logic, said: ‘I found that the phrase “global power for America” was imperial.’
He also said he had documentary evidence to support his assertion that ‘the Americans were on a par with Nazi Germany with their actions in the Persian Gulf.’
He said that ‘ongoing acts of aggression in Iraq and systematically applied war crimes’ provided a ‘moral equivalent between the US and Nazi Germany.’