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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 February, 2005, 18:02 GMT
'Iraq abuse' soldier takes stand
Artist's impression of Cpl Kenyon
Cpl Kenyon denies the charges against him
One of three soldiers accused of abusing Iraqis has said he was given no training on detaining civilians.

Cpl Daniel Kenyon, 33, described the situation at the Basra aid camp as unprofessional and said captured looters were beaten with sticks.

The Gulf War veteran, who denies five charges, was highly-regarded and had been recommended for promotion, the court martial in Germany heard.

A charge against L/Cpl Mark Cooley was dropped earlier for legal reasons.

The abuse allegedly took place after a mission to round up Iraqi looters who were stealing humanitarian aid from Camp Bread Basket in Basra in May 2003.

Cpl Kenyon, from Newcastle upon Tyne, told the court martial he had received no training in how to deal with civilian prisoners.

L/Cpl Mark Cooley aims a simulated punch at an Iraqi detainee
That to me is absolutely nothing, he's just posing for a picture and that's it
Cpl Kenyon

He said a decision to tie up one prisoner, who had been looking in the back of military vehicles, with a cargo net and blindfold him was humane and dignified.

And he said he saw nothing wrong with a photograph of L/Cpl Cooley posing as though punching a prisoner.

He said: "We were just coming out of a war scenario, everybody was a bit wound-up and people were trying to come down.

"That to me is absolutely nothing, he's just posing for a picture and that's it," he said.

But he denied taking a photograph of L/Cpl Larkin standing on top of an Iraqi prisoner, despite being pictured in the background.

He said it only captured a split second and he was probably telling L/Cpl Larkin to get off, although he said he could not remember the incident.

Cpl Kenyon, the most senior soldier to face charges, said he was told to fire warning shots at looters a week before the alleged abuse and saw one sergeant major fire shots, narrowly missing the men.

They were getting a proper beating with sticks
Cpl Daniel Kenyon

Cpl Kenyon said it went against everything he had done on previous operations.

He told the court martial that Iraqi prisoners were made to run around the camp carrying boxes above their heads - a claim made by other soldiers to the court martial.

"It's been described before as they were getting tapped with sticks," he said.

"They weren't - they were getting a proper beating with sticks."

A decision to take four prisoners to the "hide", where his platoon slept and kept weapons, was "total madness", he said.

Mock kick charge dropped

The court martial heard Cpl Kenyon, who served in the first Gulf War and in Bosnia and was seen as an "intelligent, reliable and conscientious" soldier.

He had been recommended for promotion, but turned it down because he wanted to remain a corporal, a rank he saw as "a leader of men".

Earlier Judge Advocate Michael Hunter directed the court martial panel to clear L/Cpl Cooley, 25, also from Newcastle, of pretending to kick a prisoner while being photographed. He denies two more charges.

A charge was dropped against L/Cpl Darren Larkin and Cpl Kenyon last week.

L/Cpl Larkin has admitted the remaining charge against him and Cpl Kenyon denies a further five.

L/Cpl Cooley is also expected to give evidence.

The three soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers were charged after photographs depicting alleged abuse were developed at a shop in the UK.

The court martial was adjourned until Thursday.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The court martial hears evidence from Cpl Kenyon



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