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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 June, 2005, 01:21 GMT 02:21 UK
Iraq abuse troops' jail terms cut
L/Cpl Cooley driving a forklift with an Iraqi tied to the fork
The case came to light after "trophy" photos were developed
Two British soldiers convicted over the abuse of Iraqi civilians have had their sentences reduced.

L/Cpl Mark Cooley had his two-year jail sentence cut to 18 months, and Fusilier Gary Bartlam's 18-month term was cut to 12 by the Army Reviewing Authority.

The pair were sentenced earlier this year over the abuse at Camp Bread Basket, Basra, in May 2003, and dismissed from the Army.

Bartlam admitted taking photographs of prisoners simulating sex.

Cooley, 25, from Newcastle, was found guilty of two charges - disgraceful conduct of a cruel kind and prejudicing good order and military discipline.

Photographs pictured him driving a forklift truck with a bound Iraqi suspended from the prongs, and pretending to punch another prisoner.

Bartlam, 20, from Tamworth, Staffordshire, admitted taking photographs of prisoners simulating oral and anal sex.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman would not comment on the reasons for the reductions in sentence.

Nothing less than a calculated and premeditated act of cruelty
Judge Advocate Michael Hunter's comments at original court martial on Mark Cooley's conduct

"Clearly the Army Reviewing Authority will have looked at the evidence presented before coming to this decision," he said.

The board made no change to the 18-month jail term of a third soldier, Cpl Daniel Kenyon, 33.

He was convicted of failing to report abuse, and aiding and abetting another soldier, L/Cpl Darren Larkin, in the assault of a prisoner.

Larkin, 30, was jailed for 140 days for assault after being photographed standing on top of an Iraqi detainee.

The soldiers had claimed that the abuse stemmed from an unlawful mission which took place at the aid camp to capture and deter looters.

Britain's top soldier, General Sir Michael Jackson, later said he was "appalled" by the case and apologised on behalf of the Army to the people of Iraq.

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