Army cover-up storm over ‘child mur­der and tor­ture’ by UK troops

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Steve Doughty So­cial Af­fairs Correspond­ent

BRI­TISH of­fi­cials and mil­i­tary of­fi­cers cov­ered up tor­ture and child mur­der by sol­diers in Afghanista­n and Iraq, it was re­ported yes­ter­day.

The ac­cu­sa­tions were based on in­for­ma­tion from 11 Bri­tish de­tec­tives in­volved in in­ves­ti­gat­ing war crimes charges, who said sol­diers should have been pros­e­cuted for mur­der.

It fol­lows a decade of le­gal and po­lit­i­cal ar­gu­ment over cru­elty and un­jus­ti­fied killings laid at the door of Bri­tish troops serv­ing in Iraq fol­low­ing the 2003 war and in op­er­a­tions in Afghanista­n. One £31mil­lion in­quiry found the most se­ri­ous claims of mur­der and tor­ture in Iraq were false.

Yes­ter­day’s ac­cu­sa­tions were pro­duced by the BBC’s Panorama pro­gramme and The

Sunday Times. They were said to have been made by un-named de­tec­tives who were part of the Iraq His­tor­i­cal Al­le­ga­tions Team, which looked at al­leged war crimes in Iraq, and of Op­er­a­tion North­moor, which in­ves­ti­gated al­leged war crimes in Afghanista­n.

Among cases raised was that of an Iraqi po­lice­man, Raid al-Mo­sawi, shot in an al­ley by sol­diers in Basra in 2003. Panorama and the news­pa­per said a Bri­tish officer had con­cluded the po­lice­man had fired first. De­tec­tives said the sol­dier who shot the po­lice­man should be pros­e­cuted over the killing and his com­mand­ing of­fi­cers charged with cov­er­ing it up.

There were also al­le­ga­tions that abuse of pris­on­ers in 2003 at Camp Stephen, a de­ten­tion cen­tre in Basra, led to at least two deaths.

Wit­ness state­ments claim sol­diers from the Black Watch seized Iraqi men from their homes before tak­ing them to the camp. More than ten Army whistle­blow­ers gave ev­i­dence that de­tainees were sub­jected to se­vere phys­i­cal abuse.

An­other in­ci­dent in­volved the shoot­ing by the SAS of four mem­bers of the same fam­ily in Afghanista­n in Oc­to­ber 2012. The Sunday Times said the

‘Ap­palled by this witch-hunt’

vic­tims were youths aged 20 and 17, and boys aged 14 and 12, and that teacups from which they had been drink­ing were left ‘filled with blood’.

The Min­istry of De­fence de­nied a cover-up, say­ing: ‘Al­le­ga­tions that the MoD in­ter­fered with in­ves­ti­ga­tions or pros­e­cu­tion de­ci­sions re­lat­ing to the con­duct of UK forces in Iraq and Afghanista­n are un­true. Through­out the process the de­ci­sions of prose­cu­tors and the in­ves­ti­ga­tors have been in­de­pen­dent of the MoD.’

Lawyer Hi­lary Mered­ith, who rep­re­sented sol­diers in­ves­ti­gated over Iraq al­le­ga­tions, said: ‘I am ap­palled by this on­go­ing witch-hunt against our brave ser­vice­men and women. This so-called new ev­i­dence has no cred­i­bil­ity. It is flawed, base­less and bi­ased.’

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