Claims of 'terrifying brutality' by British troops in Iraq

Lawyers acting for Iraqi civilians have said that British troops were guilty of "terrifying acts of brutality," as a High Court hearing got underway into whether there should be a public inquiry into their allegations.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is investigating the claims through the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), but Public Interest Lawyers say IHAT is not sufficiently independent.

Speaking before the hearing began this morning, lawyer Phil Shiner said: "There are unfortunately a lot more Baha Mousa cases out there - of deaths in custody following ill-treatment and torture by British forces."

A public inquiry into Mousa's death, in British custody in Iraq in September 2003, concluded it was caused by a combination of his weakened physical state and a final struggle with his guards - and named 19 soldiers who were involved in beating him.

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Iraqis seek 'abuse' inquiry

A lawyer for 192 Iraqi civilians, who claim they were systematically abused by British soldiers, is asking the High Court for a public inquiry into their allegations.