Al-Sweady inquiry findings clear British soldiers of Iraq detainees abuse claims

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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Al-Sweady public inquiry report into Iraq detainees abuse claims has concluded on Wednesday that British soldiers did mistreat nine Iraqi detainees following a fierce battle in May 2004, but allegations of murder and physical torture made against U.K. military were the product of “deliberate lies, reckless speculation and ingrained hostility”.

The claims are related to the events after the Battle of Danny Boy in 2004. And the inquiry was set up in 2009 by then Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth.

Inquiry judge, Thayne Forbes has cleared the British soldiers from false claims of murdering and torturing of upto Iraqi detainees following a fire-fight near the town of Majar-al-Kabir in 2004.

The report has also found that the conduct of some British soldiers breached the Geneva convention, but was highly critical of the claims it was initially set up to investigate.

The long-awaited inquiry – which has cost taxpayers more than £30 million – led to conclude that British forces responded to a deadly ambush by insurgents with “exemplary courage, resolution and professionalism”.

The report suggested that some of the detainees – all described as members or supporters of the Mahdi Army insurgent group – consciously lied about the most serious allegations to discredit the British armed forces.

Following the publication of inquiry findings, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has told the House of Commons: “The inquiry has utterly rejected all claims of murder and torture as deliberate and calculated lies.

“This is unsurprising as we have long said there was no credible evidence to back up these claims. Regrettably a public inquiry was necessary to put to rest false allegations that were championed by two law firms at great expense to the taxpayer.”

He has also asked the lawyers for the detainees to issue an “unequivocal” apology to the soldiers.

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