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Last Updated: Friday, 25 February, 2005, 23:07 GMT
Iraq abuse men 'are scapegoats'
L/Cpl Larkin
Larkin pleaded guilty to one charge of assault
Lawyers for three British soldiers jailed for abusing Iraqis say the men believe they have been made scapegoats.

Stuart Jackson, who represented Cpl Daniel Kenyon, said the soldier felt he had been "singled out" while other soldiers had escaped action.

Mr Jackson, who also acted for L/Cpl Mark Cooley, said: "If he is guilty... many senior officers have been saved from the same fate only by their rank."

The UK's most senior soldier, General Sir Michael Jackson refuted the claims.

He said he had "no doubt" that a prosecution of somebody senior to those punished would have taken place had there been "proper evidence" against them.

Cpl Daniel Kenyon, 33, was sentenced to 18 months after being found guilty of three charges of abuse.

L/Cpl Mark Cooley, 25, was jailed for the maximum two years over the abuse at Camp Bread Basket, Basra, in May 2003.

L/Cpl Darren Larkin, 30, who had admitted assault, was jailed for 140 days by the tribunal in Osnabrueck.

'Find scapegoats'

Cpl Kenyon felt that "a significant number of other soldiers, including many senior to him, some of whom have been promoted, were involved in the mistreatment of Iraqis that day", his lawyer said.

"As far as Corporal Kenyon is concerned, it is clear that the senior officers have been identified. They know who they were, it was not a question of finding them."

On behalf of Cooley, he said the soldier "believes that he, in the eyes of the Army, was guilty until proven guilty and notes that courts martial only allow for officers and warrant officers to sit in judgment".

He added: "They are not his peers and no doubt felt pressure from the Army and politicians to find scapegoats for what happened in Camp Bread Basket."

Richard Atterbury, solicitor for Larkin, added: "The perception may well be, before other people are brought to justice, that in fact he is a scapegoat for what took place.

"The Army made the decision not to prosecute other soldiers. It is certainly the case that other people could have faced charges but with the passage of time the chances of a successful prosecution are likely to be reduced."

Mr Atterbury said Larkin, who was photographed standing on an Iraqi civilian, knew that what he had done was "utterly stupid and utterly wrong".


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