UK troops executed Iraqi prisoners, say survivors


London : Dozens of Iraqi detainees were tortured, killed and their corpses mutilated by soldiers at a British army camp, according to evidence released from a group of survivors Friday.

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Five of nine survivors alleged they witnessed the torture and executions of many of their countrymen, who were held prisoner after a gun battle at a checkpoint near the town of Majar al Kabir in May 2004.

The claim presented at a news conference in London comes after the recent lifting of a gagging order to prevent the allegations being reported.

A month after the incident, the Guardian published a story quoting local doctors as saying the bodies recovered from the British Army base at Abu Naji had been horribly mutilated. Claims have been that some 22 detainees died and another nine were tortured.

Solicitors for the survivors presented written statements, photographs, death certificates and other related material about the incident.

According to death certificates written by the director of the hospital to which the corpses were delivered, a 37-year-old man, Ali al Jemindari, had his right arm severed and an eye gouged out.

The lawyers are seeking compensation for the Iraqi victims as well as a High Court ruling that the British government is legally obliged to set up an independent inquiry into the incident.

Last month, Phil Shiner, one of the lawyers acting for the survivors, accused a military inquiry of whitewashing the extent of mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by British forces.