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UK veteran wins pension appeal in Gulf War syndrome case

[JURIST] Daniel Martin, a 35-year old Gulf War veteran suffering from memory problems, asthma and anxiety, said Tuesday that he feels "vindicated" by a UK Pensions Appeal Tribunal [official website] ruling [PDF text] that awarded him a disability pension for Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) [Wikipedia backgrounder]. The tribunal said that GWS could be used as an "umbrella term" to cover Martin's ailments. According to the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association (NGVFA) [official website], of the 7,500 veterans who have made a claim for a disability pension, 1,500 have claimed GWS, and only two cases had been heard so far. The ruling will have dramatic implications for hundreds of other Gulf War veterans who are suffering with similar ailments, according to Martin's GWS lawyer Mark McGhee [lawyer profile], who called the decision a "landmark ruling" and "the definitive case on Gulf War Syndrome to date." The ruling differs significantly from Shaun Rusling's 2003 case [backgrounder; judgment], where the Ministry of Defence (MoD) [official website] had the burden of proving that GWS did not exist. In Martin's case, he had the burden to prove that he suffered from GWS. Pressure is now on the MoD to deal with the other pending cases in the same fashion. BBC News has more.

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