Sunday, September 12, 2010
British servicemen suspected of murdering Iraqi civilians | UK news | The Guardian
Exclusive: Soldiers and airmen are suspected of killing significant number of civilians, but have not been put on trial
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 12 September 2010 16.17 BST
Said Shabram, who drowned after British soldiers allegedly pushed him from a jetty into the Shatt al-Arab waterway near Basra.
British soldiers and airmen are suspected of being responsible for the murder and manslaughter of a number of Iraqi civilians in addition to the high-profile case of Baha Mousa, defence officials have admitted.
The victims include a man who was allegedly kicked to death on board an RAF helicopter, another who was shot by a soldier of the Black Watch after being involved in a traffic incident, and a 19-year-old who drowned after allegedly being pushed into a river by soldiers serving with the Royal Engineers.
Military police recommended that some of the alleged killers be put on trial for murder and manslaughter, but military prosecutors declined to do so after concluding that there was no realistic prospect of convictions. The Ministry of Defence and the Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA) have repeatedly declined to offer detailed explanations for those decisions. The MoD has also been reluctant to offer anything other than sketchy details of some of the investigations.
In the case of the man said to have been kicked to death aboard an RAF helicopter by troops of the RAF Regiment, the MoD has admitted that the allegation was investigated by RAF police, who decided not to conduct any postmortem examination of the body. After the case was referred to the RAF's most senior prosecutor, a decision was taken not to bring charges, apparently because the cause of death remained unknown. MoD officials are refusing to say whether any of the alleged killers were ever interviewed as part of the investigation. They did admit, however, that the British military has made no attempt to contact the man's family since his death.