Allegation of torture is preposterous, inquiry told

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The uncle of an Iraqi teenager allegedly tortured and unlawfully killed by British troops has not attempted to tell the truth about the incident, a public inquiry was told yesterday.

Khudur Al-Swaiedi says that British forces killed 19-year-old student Hamid Al-Sweady at Camp Abu Naji (CAN) near Majar-al-Kabir.

It is alleged that he was one of several non-combatant Iraqis who were unlawfully killed at the camp on 14 and 15 May 2004 after the “Battle of Danny Boy”.

The claims are denied by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), which says those who died were killed on the battlefield.

On Thursday Mr Al-Swaiedi told the Al-Sweady Public Inquiry into the allegations that he had found a British military boot mark and evidence that he had been hanged.

He also claimed one man’s penis had been cut off and found in his body bag, and that another man’s eye had been plucked out.

Cross-examining Mr Al-Swaiedi yesterday, Jeremy Johnson QC, for the Ministry of Defence, said the 48-year-old had made “preposterous allegations based on convictions and prejudices rather than evidence”.

Mr Johnson said that Mr Al-Swaiedi was motivated by a campaign in favour of what he believes to have been “martyrs”.

“I suggest to you that the allegations which you make are not based on evidence but on your readiness to believe that British forces perpetrated atrocities,” Mr Johnson said. Mr Al-Swaiedi replied: “These are not allegations, these are truths.”

The witness admitted it was his belief that western governments were led by Israel in their interventions in the Middle East. He acknowledged that he had become “disillusioned” by the occupation of Iraq since 2003.

Mr Johnson asked: “Did Hamid share the same views as you about the British troops?”

“Hamid was a student and he was brought up like that,” Mr Al-Swaiedi said.

The inquiry continues.