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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 February, 2005, 18:33 GMT
Prisoners 'deserved protection'
L/Cpl Larkin
The court was shown 22 photos depicting alleged abuse
Iraqis caught looting should have been given protection, rather than allegedly abused by British soldiers, a court martial has heard.

Three soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers are accused of mistreating captured looters at Camp Bread Basket, Basra, in May 2003.

The prosecution, in its closing statement, said the looters "deserved our protection".

The defence argued the abuse stemmed from a mission to punish the looters.

But the prosecution concluded that this was no excuse for the alleged abuse.

Reasonable doubt

L/Cpl Mark Cooley, 25, from Newcastle denies two charges of abusing Iraqi civilians in May 2003.

Cpl Daniel Kenyon, 33, from Newcastle, denies five abuse charges at the same court martial.

L/Cpl Darren Larkin, 30, from Greater Manchester, has admitted one assault and faces no other charges

The photograph shows the peril the victim is in.
Lt Col Clapham

Summing up prosecutor Lt Col Nick Clapham went through each charge and said that he had to prove beyond reasonable doubt in each case that the soldiers were guilty.

Turning to a photograph of an Iraqi being suspended from a forklift truck, he said: "The photograph shows the peril the victim is in.

"He is hanging and he is in the process of slipping down the forks and he is above a concrete surface.

"This is an exercise in fun in which a bound prisoner was placed on a forklift truck for the delectation of British servicemen who took delight in the position he found himself in, which for him was a precarious position to be in indeed."

'Shocking and appalling'

Lt Col Clapham also repeated his description that the bundle of photographs at the centre of the case were "shocking and appalling".

But he told the panel of seven military officers trying the case that they should only consider the photographs relating to the charges before them.

"The victims in this case may all have been looters but they were looters in the care of the British Army.

"They deserved our protection and the protection of the Laws of Armed Conflict.

"That we failed is not an issue in this case, clearly that has taken place," he added.

But Joseph Giret, who has been defending Cpl Kenyon during the trial, urged the court to consider their sense of "fair play".

He also asked the court whether it was fair that his client had been charged for failing to report alleged abuse, when 70 soldiers in the camp had carried out an illegal order but not one of them had reported it.

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