British soldiers ‘tortured and killed’ 22 Iraqis
|Saturday, February 2,2008 09:56|
BRITISH soldiers have been accused of torturing 22 Iraqi citizens to death.
They are also said to have abused nine others held in their custody.
The allegations of brutality, dating back to 2004, can now be made public after a gagging order was lifted by a High Court judge yesterday.
The order had prevented any details of the alleged torture being reported by the Press or broadcast media.
It is alleged the abuse happened after British troops were ambushed on the road from Amara to Basra.
Following a firefight, a 31-strong band of Iraqis are said to have been seized by soldiers and taken into custody. They were held at British headquarters in Abu-Naji in south-east Iraq.
Out of the 31 people detained only nine survived and they claim they were subjected to torture. Iraqi death certificates are said to state that the corpses of the Iraqis who were rounded up showed signs of "mutilation" and "torture".
Now the bereaved Iraqi families and survivors are fighting for compensation. They will seek a High Court ruling that the Government is legally obliged to set up an inquiry into the alleged abuse.
The gagging order was imposed last December by Lord Justice Thomas, sitting with Mr Justice Silber. Lord Justice Thomas said "adverse publicity" arising from the case would be "highly undesirable". But yesterday, another senior judge, Lord Justice Moses – also sitting with Mr Justice Silber – overturned the ban.
He ruled that the proceedings should be "in the public domain".
Lawyers representing the Iraqis say statements from the alleged victims are some of the most disturbing they have heard in 30 years.