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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 February, 2005, 16:57 GMT
Photos led to abuse convictions
L/Cpl Cooley driving a forklift with an Iraqi tied to the fork
L/Cpl Cooley suspended an Iraqi prisoner from a forklift truck

Two British soldiers have been found guilty of charges relating to abuse of Iraqi prisoners in 2003.

BBC News recounts the events that led to the verdicts, delivered at a court martial at the soldiers' base in Germany.

In May 2003, British soldiers near Basra, southern Iraq, were photographed by Fusilier Gary Bartlam with Iraqis caught looting at an aid camp known as Camp Bread Basket.

Some showed soldiers posing as if to hit or kick Iraqis bound in netting. One showed an Iraqi suspended from a forklift, while others showed naked Iraqi men simulating a sex act.

Photographic evidence

Almost two years later, 22 of those photographs ended up on display in the court martial of the three soldiers, all from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, at the British military base in Osnabrueck, Germany.

They came to light after a concerned shop assistant contacted police when Mr Bartlam, 20, took the camera film to photo developers in Tamworth, Staffordshire, for developing.

The court martial began days after a US soldier was sentenced to 10 years in jail for abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib jail, near Baghdad - prompting some to speculate that the court martial would be "Britain's Abu Ghraib".

The widespread publication of the photos in the UK and abroad sparked much comment, prompting the judge to call for caution so as not to prejudice the trial.

During the court martial, the three on trial and other soldiers described events leading up to the photos being taken.

Cpl Daniel Kenyon, 33, from Newcastle, denied six charges in connection with abuse allegations but was convicted of three. He was cleared of two charges and one was dropped.

L/Cpl Mark Cooley, 25, also from Newcastle, had denied two charges of abusing Iraqi civilians but was found guilty of both by the military panel in Germany.

L/Cpl Darren Larkin, 30, from Greater Manchester, had admitted one assault but denied another. The second charge was dropped.

In their defence the soldiers claimed that the alleged abuse stemmed from an unlawful mission which took place at the camp to capture and deter looters.

The soldiers said they were acting under orders from Major Dan Taylor, who was in charge of Camp Bread Basket.

L/Cpl Larkin
The 22 photos provoked much comment at the start of the court martial

Maj Taylor had devised Operation Ali to crack down on looters who were stealing stock from the camp, the court heard.

He denied that he told soldiers to "beast" looters - a military term meaning to work someone hard.

Prisoners were allegedly made to run up to three miles with a milk crate on their heads at the Basra aid camp.

But Maj Taylor told the court in Osnabrueck he gave no such order and also denied allowing "trophy photos".

Gary Bartlam, who took the photos, was convicted at an earlier hearing of offences connected to photographs of alleged abuse.




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