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Did British soldiers kill Iraqi civilians?

by Simon Basketter

An announcement of another public inquiry into allegations of torture by British troops is expected this week.

The case revolves around the “Battle of Danny Boy”, a battle between Shia militias and British troops in Iraq in May 2004 involving soldiers from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.

Initially British soldiers were ambushed by Mahdi army fighters. As the battle ensued a number of local residents said relatives tending nearby fields were caught up in the fighting.

British soldiers detained a number of men, and were seen transporting them from the battlefield. The next day, 22 bodies were handed over by them at Camp Abu Naji.

The father of an Iraqi killed by British soldiers during the battle, along with five other Iraqis who were detained on the same date, says that they were beaten and abused during and after their detention.

Evidence of torture includes close-range bullet wounds, the removal of eyes and stab wounds.

The death certificates described how the Iraqis died: “Several gunshot wounds to body—severance of sexual organs.” “Gunshot to head.” “Gunshot in face, pulling out of the eye, breaking the jaw, gunshot to the chest.”

Bill Rammell, the armed forces minister, has already said that there is no evidence to support the claims.

Daniel Carey, of the Public Interest Lawyers that is representing the families of the victims, said, “It does ministers no credit to continue to protest the army’s innocence when it is clear that its own investigation was at best incompetent and at worst wilfully defective.”


Shocked medic gives evidence in Baha Mousa inquiry

The ongoing public inquiry into the death of Iraqi citizen Baha Mousa saw army medics describe the last minutes of his life after he had been punched and kicked by British soldiers for 36 hours.

He received 93 injuries, including a broken nose and fractured ribs, and died from asphyxia in September 2003.

Medic Staff Sergeant Winstanley said, “I noticed that his neck seemed to be very thick and blue, which made it difficult to get the tube down his throat.

“I do recall seeing bruising on his face and blood on his nose.

“I remember that we were shocked by the fact that we could not save him.”


Article information

News
Tue 24 Nov 2009, 18:05 GMT
Issue No. 2179
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