The Toronto Star, 4/21/07, Associated Press.

SEATTLE — An Iraqi doctor who concluded that more Iraqi civilians have died in the war than has been reported has been prevented from attending a medical conference at the University of Washington.

Riyadh Lafta had been scheduled to give a lecture this evening at the Seattle campus but his visa to the United States has not been approved.

The State Department cited miscommunication as the reason for the delay.

Lafta is an epidemiologist who teaches at Al-Mustansiriya University College of Medicine in Baghdad. He co-wrote an October 2006 article that concluded nearly 655,000 Iraqis have died since the war began in March 2003. The article appeared in the British medical journal, The Lancet.

The findings were 10 times greater than other studies, said Tim Takaro, an associate professor of health sciences at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.

“The magnitude of that has been lost on the American people. Both the British and U.S. governments have discounted these figures,” said Takaro, who conducts research with Lafta.

The School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the UW asked Lafta to discuss the study, as well as elevated cancer levels in southern Iraq.

Full article: The Toronto Star