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UK troops violated human rights of Basra Iraq detainees: Defense Ministry

[JURIST] UK Secretary of State for Defence Des Browne [official profile] admitted Thursday that British soldiers had violated the human rights of several Iraqi detainees in Basra in 2003, saying that the Ministry of Defence would specifically admit to substantive breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights [PDF text] at a hearing scheduled to take place Friday. Nine Iraqi men have alleged that they were tortured by British troops [JURIST report] after being arrested in a Basra hotel where British troops found weapons and suspected bomb-making materials; a tenth detainee, Baha Mousa [BBC report; JURIST news archive], died while in custody, allegedly as a result of abuse. Seven soldiers faced court-martial [BBC timeline] in connection with Mousa's death.

Of the seven soldiers charged, only one, Corporal David Payne, faced jail time after pleading guilty [JURIST reports] to a charge of inhumane treatment. All other charges were dismissed [JURIST report]. The nine former detainees are seeking damages from the UK Ministry of Defence [official website] and in August 2007, lawyers for the Iraqi plaintiffs accused the Ministry of Defence of withholding evidence [JURIST report]. The Guardian has more.

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