troops 'tortured' Iraqis
Iraqis were tortured by British troops
who killed 22 people at al-Majar al-Kabir in the south of the country on
A British daily, The Guardian, reported the
allegations in its Monday edition, citing death certificates issued by the
Of the 22 certificates issued by hospital director Dr Adil
Salid Majid, a copy of which was obtained by the newspaper, seven reported
signs of "mutilation and torture".
Majid told the newspaper:
"On 15 May, the police came and asked us to send
ambulances to the British base to collect some bodies".
"When they brought the 22 bodies, it was a surprise to us
to see some of these bodies mutilated and tortured."
The daily gave details of the cases. Ahmad al-Halfi, a
19-year-old casual labourer, is described as having "several bullet injuries
to the body, with blueness of the left eye and a cut-wound by a sharp tool
on the right arm. In addition, there are signs of beating and torturing all
over the body."
Haidar al-Lami, 21, also a casual labourer, had
bullet injuries to the body, with mutilation of genitalia". His penis had
Hamid al-Suadi, 19, is recorded as having
to the neck and the foot. There are signs of torture: the right arm is
fractured and there is full distortion of the face."
Another, Ali al-Jamindari, 37, had "several bullet
injuries in head, face and the body, with slash marks on the neck. The right
arm has been severed at the shoulder. There is a large opening in the right
cheek and the removal by gouging of the right eye."
"There was an angry crowd of relatives outside the
hospital gates, so we examined the bodies at once and organised the death
certificates," said Majid.
"We don't have a big refrigerator here so everyone took
the death certificate and the body and buried their family members."
However, a doctor at nearby Ammara hospital, who was the
first to see the bodies cast doubt on the claims, and a British army
spokesman in Iraq called the torture allegations "absurd".
The spokesman said: "Such claims are an insult to the
whole British army and an attempt to stain the image of men who are putting
their lives at risk every day to secure Iraq for the Iraqis."
The 14 May fighting in al-Majar al-Kabir outside Ammara,
where six British soldiers had been killed in June 2003, was particularly
"We sent a clear sign that we are not going to tolerate
hostile action against our people by a minority of militia forces who are
intent on causing harm and preventing the progress of what we are doing,"
said a ministry of defence spokesman in London.
source: AFP - 21 June, 2004