The British Ministry of DefenseÂ “vigorously opposed” an inquiry into the death and torture ofÂ Iraqi civilians by UKÂ soldiers, a lawyer in the al-Sweady case has claimed.
John Dickinson,Â one of the lawyers representing the Iraqis, lashed out that the Mod for dragging its heals, stating they were forced toÂ concede that an inquiry was inevitable.
More than three years after it was first ordered, the MoD was forced to authorize theÂ inquiry that will examine claims that British soldiers tortured and murdered at least 20 Iraqis, in May 2004.
Patrick Mercer MP also questioned the amount time it has taken for an inquiry to be established, saying:
” It strikes me as odd that it’s taken so very long to come to a hearing,” he also predicted that outcomeÂ “not be satisfactory”.
Fifteen Iraqi witnesses will give evidence, including the detainees and family members of the dead.
Nine detainees claim they wereÂ imprisoned for four months andÂ tortured by BritishÂ soldiersÂ at Shaibah base near Basra.
Patrick Connor QC, legal advisor to the nine Iraqis, said:
“Young men of 18, 19, and 20, some [were] seriously injured with gunshot wounds, being stripped naked, forced to stand, not given appropriate medical treatment, and threatened with violence whilst still under the shock of capture in the middle of the night.”
The inquiry is not expected to conclude until 2004.