Thursday, October 05, 2006

Special Report

Photo: UK soldier beating an Iraqi prisoner. (BBC)

Photo: Baha Mousa died in custody after being arrested in Basra. (BBC)

Iraqi In Tears Recalling 'Abuse'

An Iraqi security guard broke down in tears while telling a court martial how he was allegedly beaten by UK soldiers. Juwad Fayez said he was punched and kicked repeatedly for failing to stand with knees bent and arms outstretched. Cpl Donald Payne has already admitted the war crime of inhumanely treating Iraqi civilian detainees. The 35-year-old and six other soldiers denied all other charges relating to alleged abuse in which one person died in Basra, southern Iraq, in 2003. Mr. Fayez wept for several minutes while giving evidence about the alleged beating at the court in Bulford, Wiltshire. He said it happened at a detention centre after he was arrested as a suspected insurgent. He said he was punched and kicked repeatedly for failing to hold the "stress position", and beaten with a metal pole. "I was beaten many times and you can see in my photos the sort of shape I was in." Urged to calm down, Mr Fayez told the court through an interpreter: "How can I calm down?" [Indeed. Why would anyone calm down after hearing this, much less having lived it? – dancewater]

As well as being assaulted, he said he was humiliated by soldiers breaking wind on him and playing with his nipples. Mr. Fayez also broke down when he described how he heard another detainee, Baha Mousa, calling out he was going to die. "He was screaming and saying 'Oh my god, I'm going to die, I'm going to die.' He was screaming all the time. I heard the screaming many times." Mr. Mousa, 26, a hotel receptionist, was among a group of detainees arrested following a counter-insurgency operation. He died while in custody.

Cpl Payne, L/Cpl Wayne Crowcroft and Pte Darren Fallon are charged with the inhumane treatment of persons, which is a war crime under the International Criminal Court Act (ICCA) 2001. It is the first time British military personnel have been prosecuted under the act. Cpl Payne was the first British serviceman to admit a war crime. He denies manslaughter and perverting the course of justice. The other six soldiers each deny the charges they face. [And victims of this are supposed to ‘calm down’? That is insane. – dancewater]


Cpl Donald Payne-manslaughter, inhumane treatment, perverting the course of justice

L/Cpl Wayne Crowcroft - inhumane treatment of persons

Pte Darren Fallon - inhumane treatment of persons

Sgt Kelvin Stacey - actual bodily harm, alternatively assault

Warrant Officer Mark Davies - negligently performing a duty

Maj Michael Peebles - negligently performing a duty

Col Jorge Mendonca - negligently performing a duty

British Soldier Admits War Crime

A British soldier has become the first to admit to a war crime after pleading guilty to inhumanely treating Iraqi civilians, at a court martial. Cpl Donald Payne, 35, of the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, pleaded guilty to the charge at the start of a court martial involving seven UK soldiers. But Cpl Payne denied manslaughter and perverting the course of justice. Six others have pleaded not guilty to charges relating to the death of Baha Mousa, 26, in custody in Basra in 2003. The charges also relate to the alleged ill-treatment of other detainees. Mr Mousa, a hotel receptionist, was among a group of detainees arrested following a counter-insurgency operation. Julian Bevan QC, prosecuting, said the detainees had been arrested on 14 September 2003 at the Haitham Hotel, where the army had found weapons including rifles, bayonets and suspected bomb-making equipment. They were subsequently taken to a temporary detention centre where they were held for 36 hours and repeatedly beaten while handcuffed and forced to wear sacks on their heads, Mr Bevan said. He told the seven-man judging panel: "One civilian, Baha Musa, died as a result, in part, from the multiple injuries he had received. "There were no less than 93 injuries on his body at the post-mortem stage, including fractured ribs and a broken nose."

US Sailor to Testify in Iraqi Murder Case

A Navy corpsman accused of kidnapping and murdering an Iraqi man will give testimony about seven Marines' role in the incident in return for having charges against him dropped, his attorney said Wednesday. He was a medic who patrolled with the Marine squad that allegedly kidnapped and murdered Hashim Ibrahim Awad last April in the town of Hamdania. All eight were charged with crimes including premeditated murder and kidnapping. Under the deal, he will give details of the incident at a court martial. In return, all of the charges against him will be dismissed. But he will plead guilty to two new charges. His lawyer said he would not be freed after his testimony. Two of the Marines charged in the case pleaded not guilty Wednesday. Besides murder and kidnapping, they also are charged with conspiracy and housebreaking. They face up to life in prison if convicted. One is accused of firing an automatic weapon at Awad. Some of the troops are accused of stealing an AK-47 assault rifle and a shovel and placing them in the hole with Awad's body, apparently to make it look like he was an insurgent planting a bomb. Since the start of the Iraq war in 2003, at least 14 members of the U.S. military have been convicted in connection with the deaths of Iraqis. Two received sentences of up to life in prison, while most others were given little or no jail time.



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