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BBC Airs Video of Soldiers Slain in Iraq

June 1, 2003

LONDON (AP) _ The British Broadcasting Corp. on Sunday showed video images of the bodies of two British soldiers killed in Iraq, despite protests from the government and relatives of the men.

A few seconds of the footage was included in a documentary about the Arabic news station Al-Jazeera. The soldiers’ faces were obscured by the BBC.

Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government had protested vigorously when the same images of the bodies _ bloodied and lying in a dusty road _ were broadcast by Al-Jazeera during the war in Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Simon Cullingworth, 36, and Sapper Luke Allsopp, 24, were reported missing following an ambush on March 23. Their bodies were later discovered in a shallow grave outside Basra in southern Iraq.

Blair’s office suggested at the time that the two men had been executed by their captors.

Last week, Blair’s office said it supported a Ministry of Defense request that the video not be broadcast. The Sun newspaper quoted Cullingworth’s widow, Allison as saying she was ``very upset and annoyed″ at the broadcaster’s plans.

The BBC said it was sympathetic to the feelings of the families but insisted the footage was integral to the documentary, which explored the influence of Al-Jazeera and differences in reporting between the Arab media and Western news outlets.

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