Bahai News -- Reuters/MSNBC - Iraq expert Kelly to be buried as row rumbles on

Iraq expert Kelly to be buried as row rumbles on

By Gideon Long

LONDON, Aug. 5 British weapons expert David Kelly, who killed himself after being sucked into a dispute over the government's case for war in Iraq, will be buried on Wednesday in a private ceremony near his Oxfordshire home.

       On the eve of the funeral, a close aide to Prime Minister Tony Blair triggered outrage by referring to the dead scientist as a fantasist, causing government turmoil and forcing an official apology.
       Kelly will be laid to rest at St Mary's Church in the picturesque village of Longworth, close to where his body was found on July 18 with a slit wrist.
       The scientist's wife and three daughters will be joined at the 13th century church by around 160 guests including Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, representing the government.
       The service, to be lead by local vicar Reverend Roy Woodhams, is expected to include elements of Bahai, the faith Kelly converted to in 1999.
       Police spent Tuesday erecting barriers in the narrow country lanes leading to the church in a bid to keep photographers, reporters and members of the public away in compliance with the family's wishes.
       Kelly's suicide has sparked the worst crisis of Blair's six-year rule, prompting accusations that the government has tried to discredit Kelly to justify its decision to go to war in Iraq.
       The 59-year-old was dragged into the row after it emerged he was the intelligence source behind a BBC Radio report which alleged the government had ''sexed up'' a dossier detailing Iraq's weapons capability.
       The quietly-spoken Kelly, a former U.N. weapons inspector and Iraq expert, was ordered to appear before a panel of politicians investigating the BBC claim.
       There he faced a verbal grilling which was televised and received huge media attention.
       Kelly killed himself days later in remote woodland near his house. A judicial inquiry was launched into the events leading to his death.
       The bearded and bespectacled microbiologist was well known and respected in his local area and was a member of his local Bahai group in the town of Abbingdon.
       Bahai, which boasts around five million members worldwide and around 6,000 in Britain, developed out of an Islamic reformist movement in the mid-19th century and has its headquarters on Mount Carmel, Israel.

©Copyright 2003, Reuters/MSNBC

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