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British soldiers accused of mutilating prisoners

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Jun. 21, 2004. 09:16 AM
British soldiers accused of mutilating prisoners

LONDON (AP) The Ministry of Defence said today that it would investigate a newspaper's allegations that the bodies of Iraqis killed in a firefight with British soldiers were mutilated and showed signs of torture.

The ministry declined to comment on details of the allegations reported in the Guardian but said the Royal Military Police were examining evidence.

"It is too early to speculate about the outcome of any investigation at this stage," a ministry spokesman said on condition of anonymity.

The Guardian said it had seen 28 death certificates prepared at Majar al Kabir hospital near Amara in southern Iraq following a May 14 gunbattle between British troops and local insurgents. Most described injuries consistent with a firefight but seven certificates, written by hospital director Dr. Adel Salid Majid, detail signs of mutilation, beating or torture, the newspaper said.

However, it reported that a doctor in Amara disputed the claims.

One certificate, for Haider al Lami, 21, said his genitals had been mutilated. The certificate for Ali al Jemindari, 37, described bullet wounds, slash marks and a severed right arm, the newspaper said. "There is a large opening in the right cheek and the removal by gouging of the right eye," it quoted the certificate as saying.

A senior doctor at Amara's general hospital, speaking to the Guardian on condition of anonymity, questioned Majid's claims after examining Jemindari's body.

He said the injuries all could have been caused by bullets and the arm was not completely severed.

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