[The Daily Mirror - UK - 1 May 2004]
A HOODED Iraqi captive is beaten by British soldiers before being
thrown from a moving truck and left to die.
prisoner, aged 18-20, begged for mercy as he was battered with rifle
butts and batons in the head and groin, was kicked, stamped and
urinated on, and had a gun barrel forced into his mouth.
an EIGHT-HOUR ordeal, he was left barely conscious and close to death.
Bleeding and vomiting and with a broken jaw and missing teeth, he was
driven from a Basra camp and hurled off the truck. No one knows if he
lived or died.
ON: A British soldier urinates on an Iraqi prisoner in a vile display
of abuse. The captive was beaten and hurled from a moving truck. Army
chiefs are investigating.
shocking pictures on this page were handed to us by one of the
attackers and a colleague. We have agreed to protect their identities
as they fear reprisals.
Last night, their
damning testimony was in the hands of appalled ministers and Army
chiefs who pledged an urgent investigation.
of the General Staff General Sir Michael Jackson said: "If this is
proven, the perpetrators are not fit to wear the Queen's uniform. They
have besmirched the good name of the Army and its honour."
No 10 said: "The
Prime Minister fully endorses the general's statement."
outrage, which emerged the day after US troops were pictured torturing
Iraqi prisoners of war, makes a mockery of the Army's attempts to win
the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.
GUN TO HEAD:
The terrified suspect cowers as a gun is placed at his head - then the
rifle barrel was forced into his mouth
chiefs believe it was an isolated incident involving a few rogue
troops. But, it is claimed, officers turned a blind eye. One of the
soldiers said: "Basically this guy was dying as he couldn't take any
more. An officer came down. It was 'Get rid of him - I haven't seen
him'. The paperwork gets ripped. So they threw him out, still with a
bag on his head."
after the pictures were taken, a captive was allegedly beaten to death
in custody by men from the same Queen's Lancashire Regiment. It is also
alleged a video was found of prisoners being thrown off a bridge.
Soldier A told how
the young victim was hauled in suspected of stealing from the docks.
said: "You pick on a man and go for him. Straightaway he gets a
beating, a couple of punches and kicks to put him down. Then he was
dragged to the back of the vehicle."
sandbag was placed over the man's head and his hands tied behind his
Soldier A said:
As we took him
back he was getting a beating. He was hit with batons on the knees,
fingers, toes, elbows, and head.
normally try to leave off the face until you're in camp. If you pull up
with black eyes and bleeding faces you could be in s**t.
"So it's body
shots - scaring him, saying 'We're going to kill you'. A lot of them
cry and p*** themselves.
it was so hot we put him in the back of a four- tonner truck which has
a canopy over it. That's where the photos were taken. Lads were taking
turns giving him a right going over, smashing him in the face with
weapons and stamping on him. We had him for about eight hours.
Blood seeps through the mask of battered suspect
You could see
blood coming out early from the first 'digs'. He was p****d on and
there was spew.
took his mask off to give him some water and let him have a rest for 10
minutes. He could only speak a few words, pleading 'No, mister' . No,
I did less than
the others. But I joined in. Me and my mate calmed down. Then two lads
come on and it starts again.
was missing teeth. All his mouth was bleeding and his nose was all over
the place. He couldn't talk, his jaw was out. He's had a good few hours
of a kicking. He was on his way to being killed. There's only so much
you can take.
After the officer
allegedly told the attackers to get rid of the suspect he was driven
A said: "The lads said they took him back to the dock and threw him off
the back of a moving vehicle. They'd have freed his hands, but he'd
still be hooded. He'd done nothing, really. I felt sorry for him. I'm
not emotional about it, but I knew it was wrong."
to the second alleged beating in custody - said to have taken place in
September - Soldier B said: "It was only a matter of time.
GROIN: A rifle is cruelly jabbed in the young man's groin as his
eight-hour nightmare goes on
had one who fought back. I thought 'Don't do that', it's the worst
thing you can do. He got such a kicking. You could hear your mate's
boots hitting this lad's spine.
of the lads broke his wrist on a prisoner's head. Another nearly broke
his foot, kicking him. We're not helping ourselves out here. We're
never going to get the Iraqis on our side. We're fighting a losing war."
Soldier B claimed
after the alleged September beating troops were told to destroy
said: "We got a warning, saying the Military Police had found a video
of people throwing prisoners off a bridge. It wasn't 'Don't do it' or
'Stop it'. It was 'Get rid of it.' "
The death is being
probed. At least one soldier is expected to be charged with
infantrymen claim abuse has started because Iraqi police are powerless
to process suspects.
B said: "There's no point taking them to the police station because
they're released within 20 minutes. The coppers don't want any comeback
and let them go. All we do is teach them a lesson our way.
knackered and you don't want to be going to a police station and doing
statements, just for them to be released. Give them a kicking, then
it's done and dusted.
lot of the younger ones are worse. It's as though they've something to
prove. You've got a gun and you're the law. You can make people do
whatever you want."
Both men fear the
situation is worsening , with UK troops now seen as the enemy, rather
said: "I can't believe it has taken the Iraqis so long to fight back.
If it had been me or my family, I'd have retaliated straightaway.
just got f****d around so much. You can't go in now, and say 'Right,
let's forget about what has happened and start again'.
now. There are too many people against us."
MoD confirmed eight cases of alleged mistreatment of Iraqis by British
personnel are being investigated by the army's Special Investigations
Branch. A spokesman said: "All allegations will be investigated - and
every soldier knows it."