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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 September 2005, 08:14 GMT 09:14 UK
'Beaten' Iraqi woman admits lying
Military courtroom in Colchester
The court is sitting in Essex
An Iraqi woman who claimed to have been brutally beaten by British soldiers while she was pregnant has admitted it was a "wicked lie".

Samira Rishek, an illiterate Marsh-Arab, was giving evidence at the court martial trial of seven soldiers accused of murdering Nadhem Abdullah.

The 18-year-old is alleged to have died after an attack on Iraqi civilians in al-Ferkah, southern Iraq, in May 2003.

The Parachute Regiment soldiers deny murder and violent disorder.

They are alleged to have used rifle butts, helmets and fists during the assault.

'No injuries'

Mrs Rishek, a mother of 11, who does not know her age, told military investigators she was beaten by the soldiers during the attack, the court sitting in Colchester, Essex, heard.

But she has admitted to the court that she lied and never sustained any injuries.

In court on Monday, Neil Ford QC, representing Private Scott Jackson, one of the accused, asked Mrs Rishek whether it was accurate that she had told investigators she received a "dreadful beating" while pregnant.

She replied through an interpreter: "Correct, but I was not hit." Richard Ferguson QC, representing former Private Roberto Di-Gregorio, asked Mrs Rishek whether her tribe considered it "a matter of shame" to be found telling lies.

She said: "Yes, it is a shame. I am ashamed of it now. I don't know what I was saying."

Payment question

Mr Ferguson then asked her whether she had lied to obtain compensation for someone else or to back up lies told by other members of her community.

She said: "No, by Allah, I did that on my own. No, it was not for that."

Last week, the court heard Mrs Rishek, along with other witnesses, is being paid 100 dollars a day to give evidence at the trial.

She also admitted that she had only agreed to give evidence after being told she would be paid.

Corporal Scott Evans, 32, and Privates Billy Nerney, 24, Samuel May, 25, Morne Vosloo, 26, Daniel Harding, 25, Roberto Di-Gregorio, 24, and Scott Jackson, 26, all deny murder and violent disorder.

The trial continues.


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