Anger over kidnapped Alec MacLachlan's treatment

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Media captionIraq hostage Alec MacLachlan from Llanelli was one of four men killed

The mother of a man kidnapped and then killed by Iraqi militants in 2007 said she agreed the Foreign Office treated him like a second-class citizen.

Alec MacLachlan from Llanelli was one of five men captured in Baghdad, of whom four were killed.

The kidnappers' leader has apologised, but blamed the UK government for not doing enough to intervene.

The Foreign Office said responsibility lay "entirely with those who kidnapped and murdered" the four men.

IT expert Peter Moore, from Lincoln, was freed in December 2009, but his captors killed his four bodyguards.

Mr Moore has said more should have been done to free all five men.

Mr MacLachlan, along with Jason Swindlehurst, from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, Jason Creswell, originally from Glasgow, and Alan McMenemy, from Glasgow, were acting as bodyguards for Mr Moore when they were all taken hostage.

Their captors had wanted to use the men as part of a hostage exchange.

Sheik Qais al-Khazali, leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq - or League of the Righteous - blamed the UK for the deaths.

League of the Righteous is now a political force - as well as a military force - in Iraq.

In an interview in Baghdad, Sheik Qais al-Khazali told the BBC's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen he had been in prison when Mr Moore and his team were taken.

He said he was sorry for the deaths, adding that the kidnappings and the killings should never have happened.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Sheik Qais al-Khazali said the kidnaps and killing should not have happened

"I think that the British government is responsible for their deaths because it was not serious in the negotiations with the side that held them," said Sheik Qais al-Khazali. "If they were fast enough that wouldn't have happened.

"The British government concentrated only on Peter Moore. The bodyguards were second-class citizens.

"That was a surprise for us."

Helen Maclachlan was too upset to be interviewed after unexpectedly seeing her son on the news again but told BBC Wales she agreed with his comments.

She said there was a media blackout at the time and that they were told not to release names or details. She felt Mr Moore was publicised and prioritised over the others.

'Treated equally'

Mr Moore told BBC Wales: "I think more should have been done to get us all out."

But he said he did not believe he had been put before the other men - until their deaths.

He said: "From my perspective we were all treated equally. I didn't think I had a priority or anything like that.

"Maybe in 2009, once they [the UK government] knew that the others were dead, maybe they gave more of a priority to me because they knew I was alive, that's possible.

"But I don't believe any greater priority was given to me over the guards at the start of the hostage situation, as far as I'm aware. I was a hostage. I don't really know what went on."

He added that he did not expect any investigation into the deaths would make enough progress to give the families a sense of closure.

He said: "If the only closure for the families is going to be a prosecution, then I don't see that happening."

Mrs Maclachlan last wrote to the Foreign Office at Christmas time asking for an update on the case and was told that investigations were continuing.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: "All kidnaps of British nationals are taken extremely seriously.

"The responsibility for murdering British hostages lies entirely with those who kidnapped and murdered them."

Five years after the men's deaths no-one has yet been brought to justice.

The League of the Righteous, which now encompasses a political party, is a powerful and feared Shia Muslim fighting group that is heavily involved in the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis).

The group emerged during the fight against the Americans and the British after the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Peter Moore arrived back in the UK on 1 January 2010

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