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Acquitted British soldiers say they were scapegoats in Basra drowning prosecution

[JURIST] Two British soldiers who were found not guilty [JURIST report] by a military tribunal in the 2003 drowning of a 15-year-old Iraqi boy may resign from service to protest the UK's prosecution of the case. The two soldiers say that "wetting" looters in Basra was standard practice, encouraged by superior officers, and that they were merely following orders by forcing the boy to swim across the canal as punishment for looting. Guardsman Joseph McCleary told the Liverpool Daily Post, "I don't know why the Army went ahead with the prosecution. It was when there were reports about British soldiers mistreating Iraqis and they wanted to look like they were doing something. We were scapegoats."

After a British MP questioned the evidence used against the soldiers at their trial, UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith defended the prosecution of the case [BBC report], saying some of the UK's most experienced prosecutors recommended the case be pursued, and that the military tribunal judge himself threw out a motion to dismiss based on insufficient evidence. The Telegraph has local coverage.

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