British Iraq torture scandal

This 4 March 2013 video is called Al-Sweady inquiry opens in UK into deaths of Iraqis.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

MoD ‘failed to hand over’ Iraq death files

Monday 04 March 2013

A public inquiry into allegations that British troops tortured and murdered Iraqis revealed today the MoD failed to hand over hundreds of potentially relevant documents to a judicial review.

The startling revelation came during the opening day of the long-awaited Al-Sweady inquiry into allegations that up to 20 Iraqis were murdered and detainees tortured by British troops following a firefight at a checkpoint in Maysan Province, southern Iraq, in May 2004.

An original investigation criticised the MoD, and in particular former defence secretary Bob Ainsworth who it found repeatedly failed in his duty to disclose evidence in the case.

However the sheer scale of the amount of evidence not disclosed by the MoD was not known until today.

Lead counsel for the inquiry Jonathan Acton Davis QC revealed that its investigators had to request disclosure from the MoD some 250 times before they gained access documents relevant to the case.

During its investigations the inquiry team found thousands of previously undisclosed documents including nine detainee files that had not been disclosed to the claimants or the court in the judicial review proceedings, he said.

In all the inquiry has found over 8,000 newly disclosed documents.

The inquiry will look at allegations that a number of Iraqis were unlawfully killed at Camp Abu Naji on May 14 and 15 2004 and that five Iraqi detainees were tortured and ill-treated there, and again between May 14 and September 23 2004 at a detention facility at Shaibah Logistics Base.

Mr Acton Davis said the inquiry aims to identify the circumstances of the deaths of 28 Iraqi men in total.

The tribunal heard that death certificates for three of the men documented signs of torture, a number had missing eyes and one man’s penis was missing.

It is claimed that Hamid Al-Sweady, whom the inquiry was named after, was killed at CAN either on May 14 2004 after he had been detained, or on May 15 before his body and that of 19 other Iraqis were handed back to local Iraqi authorities.

Mr Acton Davis said there was a “stark dispute” between Iraqi and military evidence.

The MoD has vigorously denied the allegations, saying the deaths occurred on the battlefield.

The inquiry was ordered after Hussein Fadel Abass, Atiyah Sayid Abdelreza, Hussein Jabbari Ali, Mahdi Jassim Abdullah and Ahmad Jabbar Ahmood claimed violations of their Human Rights at the High Court.

Chaired by retired Judge Sir Thayne Forbes it is expected to last at least a year.

13 thoughts on “British Iraq torture scandal

  1. Pingback: Iraqi workers fight for their rights | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Spotlight on Britain’s shameful reputation

    Friday 08 March 2013
    After reading the Independent’s front page headline (March 4) “Twinned with Belarus: Tories betray Britain’s human rights reputation” I produced one of those involuntary snorts that have people backing away as far as they can.

    In little over a decade Britain has enjoined the destruction of Afghanistan, the illegal invasion and decimation of Iraq and the destruction of much of Libya.

    With Britain’s connivance two legitimate leaders have been little less than lynched, with William Hague now declaring another leader, President Bashar al-Assad – whose country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity (as was Iraq’s) is guaranteed by the UN – must go.

    The litany of torture allegations and extra-judicial murders by our and the US’s “boys” is not abating (and as a “coalition” Britain shares guilt in allegations levelled at US troops).

    Iran, another country not massing on our borders to invade, is also threatened.

    Our Defence Secretary now advocates bombs over butter and suggests cutting the Welfare bill to pay for the bombs.

    In Iraq, between the embargo and the invasion, both enthusiastically supported by Britain, the upper figure of excess deaths is three million.

    The invasion has created a million widows, nearly five million displaced and nearly five million orphans – thought to be the highest number of orphans in proportion to the population of any country in the world.

    Over the the last and other decades, Britain is certainly exceptional in one league, not human rights but wars of aggression, Nuremberg’s “supreme international crime.”

    Felicity Arbuthnot

    London E9


  3. Iraq abuse was calculated, claims survivors’ lawyer

    Monday 11 March 2013

    by Paddy McGuffin Home Affairs Reporter

    The lawyer for nine Iraqis and bereaved relatives told the al-Sweady inquiry into torture and murder by British troops today that soldiers had carried out “planned” abuse.

    Patrick O’Connor said that prisoners were kicked in the head, beaten, roughly handled, strip-searched, deprived of sleep and subjected to mock executions.

    “These are not matters of individual spontaneous misconduct,” he said.

    “They are planned, calculated and trained abuses by branches of the state.”

    The inquiry is investigating claims that British soldiers murdered and tortured Iraqis after the Battle of Danny Boy in Maysan province, southern Iraq, in May 2004.

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

    Mr O’Connor said that all nine detainees had said they had been “kicked in the head when they were defenceless” and complained of being beaten when being transported to CAN.

    The shock of capture was maintained through rough handling, he said, and strip searches were carried out which would have had a “strong psychological impact on the Iraqis.”

    They also suffered medical neglect at CAN and oppressive or tactical questioning, he claimed.

    Mock executions were used as a part of a “calculated and sinister regime to break down these detainees.”

    The Ministry of Defence has denied all of the allegations.


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