Al-Sweady: Iraqis to give evidence over abuse claims

A GROUP of Iraqis will travel to the UK this week – some for the first time – to give evidence to a long-awaited public inquiry into claims that British soldiers committed murder and torture during the Iraq War.

The Iraqi detainees, who claim they were mistreated, along with relatives of those allegedly unlawfully killed, 
will start giving evidence to the Al-Sweady Inquiry.

The inquiry is examining claims that UK soldiers murdered Iraqis and tortured others after the “Battle of 
Danny Boy” in Maysan Province, southern Iraq, in May 2004 – claims denied by the Ministry 
of Defence.

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It is alleged that Iraqis were unlawfully killed at Camp Abu Naji (CAN) near Majar-al-Kabir on 14 and 15 May, 2004, and that five Iraqi detainees were tortured and ill-treated both at CAN and at Shaibah Logistics Base, where they were held for the next four months.

The Ministry of Defence vigorously denies the allegations and says those who died were killed on the battlefield.

In an opening statement, counsel to the inquiry Jonathan Acton Davis, QC, said insurgents ambushed the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders near the Danny Boy checkpoint on 14 May, 2004.

Enemy dead would normally have been left on the battlefield, but bodies of 20 Iraqis were taken to CAN, along with nine detainees.

“It was the claimants’ case that not all of the 20 died on the battlefield, and that at least one of them was murdered by a British soldier after he had been returned alive to CAN,” he said.

Lawyers for nine Iraqi survivors and bereaved relatives claim they suffered “planned, calculated and trained abuses”, enduring beatings, rough handling, 
strip searches and abuse once in their cells; as well as sleep deprivation and mock executions. Counsel for the MoD said there was a “complete lack of credibility and reliability” to the claims.

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