Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Iraqis accuse British troops of war crimes.........

British troops, [militants], committed "war crimes" in post-war Iraq, unlawfully killing civilians and beating and torturing prisoners in their custody, lawyers for the victims have alleged. Soldiers played cruel "games" with prisoners, forcing them to recite lists of English or Dutch footballers and beating them if they failed, Phil Shiner, a British lawyer leading six test cases in the High Court this week, said.

In allegations echoing claims of prisoner abuse by US soldiers, [militants], in Iraq, Mr Shiner said another "game" favoured by British troops involved a group of soldiers surrounding a prisoner and taking turns to see how hard they could kick-box him.

"The idea seemed to be to splat [the prisoner] against the wall if at all possible," he said. "These cases raise absolutely fundamental issues of human rights and international law. If these abuses go unchecked, if there is no accountability, then that completely undermines the rule of law."

Mr Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, says he is acting for 37 cases of alleged unlawful killing, torture or mistreatment by British troops, [militants], in post-war Iraq.

The test cases, which have opened in the High Court, involve five Iraqi civilians who were killed in shootings after the official end of the US-led war on Iraq in May 2003.

'Severe beatings'

Another case involves the death of Baha Mousa, an Iraqi former hotel receptionist who died in British custody after suffering what his lawyers said were "severe beatings".

A spokesman for Britain's Ministry of Defence, [War], (MoD) said it would "robustly" defend the case.

"We have every confidence in the existing legal framework in which our armed forces are operating," the spokesman said.

Mr Mousa, 26, died in September 2003 after soldiers, [militants], arrested him and at least seven other young Iraqis in the southern city of Basra.

His body was returned to his family four days later, battered and caked with blood.

Mr Mousa's father, Daoud Mousa, said in a statement distributed at the news conference he was horrified when he saw his son's body.

"He had been beaten so severely I could not bear to look at him. I am not against British troops, [militants], in Iraq [?] and I am glad that Saddam Hussein has gone, but all my family demands is justice for the horrific death of my son, he said."

[Notice how this article has now reported that the complainant whose son was beaten supposedly now is glad his country was illegally invaded by the Coalition of the Killing. I doubt that that was the case and that statement has been manipulated by the abusive war criminals.]

Judicial review

A former colleague of Mr Mousa, Kifah Taha Al Mutari, said he too was almost beaten to death by British troops, [militants], after being arrested at the same time.

"I wish to know why I was detained and beaten so badly by British troops," he said.

In a preliminary hearing at the High Court in May, lawyers won the right to a judicial review to challenge the government's refusal to open independent inquiries into the civilian deaths.

At this week's hearings lawyers will argue that because the Iraq war was officially over, [?], when the six victims died, and because Britain was an occupying power, the European Convention on Human Rights should apply and full independent inquiries should be launched.

"If we succeed, then we will get an inquiry and it would be a single inquiry to look at the cause of these deaths," Mr Shiner said.

"If the allegations ... were to be found proven at an inquiry, then undoubtedly they come full square within the definition of war crimes."

By No War 27 July 04


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