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Al-Sweady inquiry shown video of dead 'torture victims'

The Al-Sweady inquiry into claims that British soldiers murdered 28 Iraqi men and tortured detainees in Iraq, in May 2004, have been shown video of bodies being taken to hospital.

The bodies of Iraqi men are transported in ambulances
The bodies of Iraqi men are transported in ambulances Credit: Al-Sweady inquiry

The graphic footage showed body bags being carried into a local hospital and doctors pointing to some alleged signs of torture.

Medical staff and relatives surround the ambulances on their arrival. Credit: Al-Sweady inquiry

Read more: Iraqi deaths inquiry opens

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Inquiry aims to identify circumstances of Iraqi deaths

In an opening statement today, counsel to the inquiry Jonathan Acton Davis QC said it aims to identify the circumstances of the deaths of 28 Iraqi men.

The claim related to events which began on May 14 2004, when Iraqi insurgents ambushed vehicles belonging to the Argyll and Southern Highlanders near to a permanent vehicle checkpoint known as Danny Boy which was some 5km north-east of Majar Al Kabir on route six in Iraq.

A fierce battle ensued which involved not only the Argylls but also soldiers from the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment.

It resulted in many Iraqis being killed and in two British soldiers being wounded.

He said enemy dead would normally have been left on the battlefield, but British soldiers were apparently given an order to identify the dead to try to find a man thought to be involved in the murder of six British soldiers in 2003.

As part of that order, the bodies of 20 Iraqis were taken back to CAN, and nine were detained, he said.

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.

Iraq torture claims inquiry opens

A long-awaited public inquiry into claims that British soldiers mistreated and murdered Iraqi detainees during the Iraq War has opened.

The Al-Sweady Inquiry is examining claims that UK soldiers murdered and tortured Iraqis after the "Battle of Danny Boy" in Maysan Province, southern Iraq, in May 2004.

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

ITV News' Neil Connery reports:

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Patrick Mercer: Outcome will 'not be satisfactory'

Patrick Mercer MP has told Daybreak that the conclusions from the al-Sweady inquiry will "not be satisfactory."

He said the families "need to know the truth", but explained that both sides of the argument were "completely polarised".

Today an inquiry into the deaths of 20 or more Iraqis will begin, expected to last until 2014.

It is alleged that UK soldiers killed unarmed civilians and tortured detainees.

Iraqi deaths inquiry was 'opposed' by the MOD

John Dickinson, one of the lawyers representing the Iraqis in the al-Sweady case, said the inquiry has taken so long to set up, because it was "vigorously opposed" by the MOD.

More than three years after it was ordered, the inquiry will examine claims that UK soldiers murdered 20 or more Iraqis, and tortured detainees in Maysan Province, southern Iraq, in May 2004.

Inquiry will look at original Military Police investigation

During the opening of the al-Sweady public inquiry, Jonathan Acton Davis QC is expected to deliver a a comprehensive outline, including why the inquiry was ordered and what it aims to identify.

The inquiry will also look at, an original Royal Military Police investigation into what happened.

Since 2009, the database compiled by the Iraq Historic Allegations Team has ben searched for any relevant material.

We felt we couldn't keep postponing the start of the inquiry just for that, but by the time the military evidence starts in September we want to have completed the search.

– Cecilia French, inquiry secretary

Hundreds to give evidence in alleged Iraq torture case

According to inquiry secretary Cecilia French, hundreds will give evidence, in person, over video link or by witness statement, at the al-Sweady public inquiry.

  • Fifteen Iraqis will travel to the UK to give evidence at the al-Sweady public inquiry
  • A further 45 Iraqis, including relatives, medical staff, and others who had contact with those who died, will give evidence via videolink
  • Statements were taken from nearly 90 Iraqi witnesses, all in either Beirut or Istanbul
  • Evidence from military witnesses will start in September, through to February next year, it could be more than 200 people going evidence
  • Statements from around 400 military witnesses have been taken

It is thought the inquiry will have finished its report by the end of 2014.

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