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UK soldiers spared courts-martial for videotaped Iraqi civilian beatings

[JURIST] The British Ministry of Defence [official website] said Thursday that nine soldiers videotaped beating Iraqi civilians [JURIST report] in an incident in southern Iraq in 2004 will not face charges before military courts-martial. The Army Prosecuting Authority (APA) [official website] said that while there was enough evidence to bring assault charges against two of the soldiers, the time period for charging the soldiers had expired. The APA also stated that two other soldiers could still face court-martial, but that most likely they will "be dealt with summarily by the commanding officer, or by internal army administrative action."

The soldiers were caught on tape beating Iraqi civilian youths in the southeastern city of Amarah. Nine men from the 1st Battalion, Light Infantry were investigated by the army's Special Investigation Branch before referrals were made to the APA. The video was made public by a British tabloid last year, prompting calls for a speedy prosecution [JURIST report] of UK troops shown on the tape and plans for a lawsuit [JURIST report] by two Iraqi civilians who said they were beaten by British soldiers following a demonstration that turned violent. AP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

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