MoD rejects allegations British soldiers killed 20 unarmed civilians and abused others detained after battle north of Basra
3 March 2013 - Allegations that British soldiers killed 20 unarmed civilians and abused others detained after a battle with Shia insurgents north of Basra in 2004 – the most serious allegations made against British soldiers in Iraq – are the subject of a public inquiry that opens on Monday.
The al-Sweady inquiry – named after the family of Hamid, an alleged victim aged 19 – was forced on the Ministry of Defence in 2009 after high court judges accused it of "lamentable" behaviour and "serious breaches" of its duty of candour.
The judges said the MoD had failed to disclose crucial information relating to the allegations and to set up a proper investigation as required by the Human Rights Act.
Nine Iraqis say they were tortured after being taken to a detention centre at Shaibah base near Basra and held there for four months. They say they were taken, along with the 20 murdered Iraqis, to a British base, Camp Abu Naji, after a fierce firefight in what became known as the battle of Danny Boy, a British military checkpoint near Majar al-Kabir, on 14 May 2004. read more>>>
04 March 2013 - An inquiry into whether British soldiers committed war crimes during the Iraq War will finally begin in public today, more than three years after it was first ordered.
The Al Sweady Inquiry will be the largest of its kind to date. It will focus on the events of May 14, 2004 and what happened in the hours after.
On that day, British soldiers from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders were ambushed while on patrol in southern Iraq by the Mahdi Army.
Reinforcements sent in to help from the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment were also caught in an ambush.
A close-quarter and fierce four-hour fight ensued, at one point the British soldiers fixed bayonets to their rifles and charged their enemy - the first time that had happened since the Falklands Conflict.
It became known as the Battle of Danny Boy, named after a nearby checkpoint.
No British soldiers were killed but 28 Iraqis were and a further nine were taken prisoner.
It is alleged that some were then tortured and in the case of six, murdered, while in British custody at Camp Abu Naji. read more>>>