[JURIST] The UK military is investigating allegations surrounding the 2004 deaths of 22 Iraqi detainees who may have been in UK custody and the alleged torture of nine other detainees, officials said Thursday after a court-imposed gag order on the probe was lifted. The investigation concerns a 2004 clash between insurgents and a British convoy in Majar al Kabir [Guardian report], north of Basra, in which approximately 22 Iraqis were said to have been killed and an additional nine taken into custody. Iraqi petitioners, however, allege that the deaths actually occurred while the Iraqis were detained in British custody rather than in battle, and that there is evidence that they were tortured. The nine survivors have also said that they were tortured while in British custody. The military opened the investigation in December, but did not publicize it because of the gag order, lifted [BBC report] by the UK High Court on Thursday.
The UK Royal Military Police [official website] first conducted an investigation [Guardian report] into the incident in 2004, clearing the UK soldiers of wrongdoing when an independent pathologist determined the Iraqis' deaths resulted from combat injuries. AP has more.