Al-Sweady Inquiry: Iraq teenager was hanged, says uncle

British soldier in Iraq Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The MoD says all those who died were killed on the battlefield

A teenager killed in Iraq was tortured and hanged by British troops, his uncle has told an official investigation.

Khuder Al-Sweady told the inquiry 19-year-old Hamid's body had a boot-shaped bruise on the forehead, a broken arm, bullet wounds and signs of hanging.

The Al-Sweady inquiry named after Hamid is examining claims that detainees were mistreated and killed in 2004 after the so-called Battle of Danny Boy.

Britain's Ministry of Defence vigorously denies the claims.

It says all those who died were killed on the battlefield, and its counsel has said there is a "complete lack of credibility and reliability" in the allegations.

Mr Al-Sweady fought a long legal battle to have a public inquiry into the alleged mistreatment and unlawful killing of Iraqis at Camp Abu Naji (CAN) near Majar-al-Kabir on 14-15 May 2004 after fighting had finished.

'Missing genitals'

In the first of two witness statements made in July 2010 and released today as he appeared, he said he found signs of torture on his nephew Hamid.

The inquiry - which is chaired by former High Court judge Sir Thayne Forbes - was told Mr al-Sweady and others went and searched the battlefield on 14 May after hearing about the battle.

The next day he said he and other relatives went to CAN, where they saw dead bodies being handed over.

They then travelled to the Al-Sadr Hospital, where they saw the body bags being opened.

He described what he saw as an "inhuman catastrophe", and in his statement he said injuries included not only bullet wounds, but missing eyes and, in one case, missing genitals.

He said that he wrote the names of some of those he could identify on their body bags, but some were too disfigured.

"I examined one of the martyrs, until even I put my finger in the missing eye," he said.

Mr Al-Sweady said that when Hamid's body was brought from the vehicles he washed it.

In his July 2010 statement, the 48-year-old said his nephew's injuries included bullet holes, "signs of torture on his chest", and "bruises by a boot to his forehead".

He said one of his arms was broken and there was a "hole in his neck".

"I would say there the primary cause of death was hanging and torture," his statement said.

Mr Al-Sweady told the inquiry that not including hanging in Hamid's death certificate and discrepancies between his descriptions and those of other witnesses had been a mistake, and said there had been problems with translation as he had given various statements.

Previous witnesses at the inquiry include Hamid's father, who said his son's injuries included marks around his neck that appeared if he had been electrocuted.

One of the detainees, Mahdi Jassim Abdullah al-Behadili, told the inquiry last month he feared being tortured and executed.

Lawyers for the MoD and the soldiers have questioned the accuracy of the evidence by some of the witnesses.

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