Veterans’ Minister Johnny Mercer Faces Jail Threat for Refusing to Disclose SAS Whistleblowers’ Names in Afghan Killing Inquiry

In a dramatic turn of events, Veterans’ Minister Johnny Mercer faces the threat of jail time after a judge ordered him to disclose the names of whistleblowing soldiers who divulged information about alleged unlawful killings by the UK SAS in Afghanistan.

Mercer, a former Army officer, had previously testified at a public inquiry, asserting that ‘multiple sources’ had informed him of executions carried out by the SAS during the conflict but refused to unveil their identities.

Section 21 Notice Compels Mercer to Disclose Sources or Face Jail

Mercer has been served with a Section 21 notice, compelling him to reveal the identities of his sources regarding the alleged SAS executions. Failure to comply could result in fines or imprisonment for up to 51 weeks.

Despite facing pressure to disclose the names during his testimony, Mercer remained steadfast in his refusal, citing the importance of preserving the confidentiality of his contacts and maintaining his integrity.

Tensions Rise as Mercer Defends Whistleblower Confidentiality

During a tense exchange at the Royal Courts of Justice, Mercer reiterated his refusal to divulge the names of the whistleblowers, prompting warnings from the inquiry’s chairman, Sir Charles Haddon-Cave, about the significant powers at his disposal.

Despite these warnings, Mercer has reportedly ignored the request to reveal the identities, risking contempt charges and potential breaches of the ministerial code.

Outcry Over Threat of Prosecution

The prospect of Mercer facing prosecution for upholding his promise of anonymity to whistleblowers has sparked outrage among military figures and supporters.

Former Chief of the General Staff, Lord Dannatt, condemned the move as ‘outrageous,’ emphasizing Mercer’s commitment to protecting whistleblowers and the public interest.

Critics argue that compelling Mercer to disclose the identities could deter future whistleblowers from coming forward, hindering accountability and transparency in military operations.

Inquiry Investigates Alleged SAS Executions in Afghanistan

Meanwhile, the inquiry continues its investigation into allegations that special forces, including the SAS, had a policy of executing Afghan males deemed of ‘fighting age’ between 2010 and 2013.

Afghan families have accused the unit of conducting a ‘campaign of murder’ against civilians, prompting calls for accountability and justice amid claims of a cover-up.

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