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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 February, 2005, 19:50 GMT
Two soldiers guilty of Iraq abuse
L/Cpl Cooley driving a forklift with an Iraqi tied to the fork
Cooley, driving the forklift, was found guilty of cruel conduct
Two British soldiers have been found guilty at a court martial of charges relating to abusing Iraqi prisoners.

Cpl Daniel Kenyon, 33, was convicted of three charges and L/Cpl Mark Cooley, 25, of two following abuse at Camp Bread Basket, Basra, during May 2003.

Both men, and a third - L/Cpl Darren Larkin - who had admitted assault, will be sentenced by the military panel in Osnabrueck, Germany, on Friday.

Kenyon and Cooley face up to two years in jail. Larkin faces up to six months.

These acts have undoubtedly tarnished the international reputation of the British Army
Judge advocate Michael Hunter
The abuse came to light when photographs taken by a fourth soldier, Gary Bartlam, were left in a Staffordshire shop to be developed.

'Forklift' offence

Judge advocate Michael Hunter adjourned the court until Friday after the panel of seven senior military officers returned the five guilty verdicts on Wednesday.

L/Cpl Mark Cooley aims a simulated punch at an Iraqi detainee
Cooley was also convicted of simulating a punch

Cooley was found guilty on two charges - one of disgraceful conduct of a cruel kind after he drove a forklift truck with a bound Iraqi suspended from the prongs.

Cooley, who was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, had told the court that he was moving the man out of the sun's glare.

He was also convicted of simulating a punch - a picture of which was shown in the court.

Cooley said the picture was a "trophy photograph" but he was embarrassed about it.

Larkin, 30, pleaded guilty to assault after he was pictured standing on top of an Iraqi.

Senior officer

Kenyon, the most senior soldier on trial, was convicted of three offences - two of which related to failing to report the actions of junior soldier.

He was found guilty of failing to report that a soldier under his command had caused an Iraqi detainee to be raised on the forks of a forklift truck.

L/Cpl Larkin
Larkin pleaded guilty to one charge of assault

He was also convicted of aiding and abetting Larkin to assault a prisoner.

And he was found guilty of failing to report that soldiers under his command had forced two naked prisoners to simulate sex.

However, Kenyon was found not guilty of two charges of aiding and abetting unknown persons to force the detainees to simulate a sex act.

Kenyon, who served in the first Gulf War and in Bosnia, was seen as an "intelligent, reliable and conscientious" soldier by fellow soldiers, the court was told.

When he took the stand, he said the atmosphere at the camp was unprofessional and that looters were beaten with sticks.

Operation Ali Baba

In their defence, the soldiers - all from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers - claimed that the abuse stemmed from an unlawful mission which took place at the aid camp to capture and deter looters.

The mission, codenamed Operation Ali Baba, was ordered by the camp's commanding officer Maj Dan Taylor.

Cpl Kenyon and L-Cpl Cooley (right)
The defendants said nothing as the verdicts were read out
Maj Taylor told his troops that the looters should be "worked hard", to try to stop them returning to Camp Bread Basket.

But he denied he ordered troops to make prisoners run up to three miles with a milk crate on their heads, a practice known as "beasting".

During the court martial, prosecutors said the operation was in breach of the Geneva Convention.

In a separate court martial last year, the soldier who took the photos, Bartlam, admitted taking photographs of the Iraqis simulating oral and anal sex.

Bartlam had been due to stand trial alongside the three soldiers but his lawyers negotiated a plea bargain which saw four of seven charges against him dropped.

He was sentenced to 18 months in a youth detention centre and disgracefully discharged from the Army.

Sentencing him, judge advocate Hunter said: "The actions of you and those responsible for these acts have undoubtedly tarnished the international reputation of the British Army and, to some extent, the British nation too."

The charges as they are announced

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