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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 May 2006, 13:19 GMT 14:19 UK
Soldier cleared of Iraqi's death
Ahmed Jabber Kareem
Three men are still on trial for the manslaughter of Mr Kareem
A British soldier accused of the manslaughter of a 15-year-old Iraqi has been acquitted by a court martial.

L/Cpl James Cook of the Irish Guards was found not guilty by a jury panel of seven senior officers in Colchester on the direction of the judge advocate.

He had denied any involvement in the death of Ahmed Jabber Kareem who drowned in a Basra canal in May 2003.

Two other Irish Guards and one former Coldstream Guard are still on trial for the same charge, which they deny.

Vice Judge Advocate Gen Michael Hunter made the decision regarding L/Cpl Cook following legal arguments but did not give an explanation.

The soldier's mother said it was "just complete relief".

Andrea Selway, 46, of Hillingdon, Middlesex, said: "It's been like riding a rollercoaster."

Canal

Sgt Carle Selman, 39, then of the Coldstream Guards and now serving with the Scots Guards is on trial with Guardsman Joseph McCleary, 24, and Guardsman Martin McGing, 22, both of the Irish Guards.

Mr Kareem was one of four alleged looters stopped by Iraqi police and British soldiers and allegedly forced into Shatt al-Basra canal on 8 May 2003.

A witness during the trial, Aiad Salim Hanon, said the alleged looters were repeatedly beaten while being driven by soldiers to the edge of the canal.

Earlier in the trial, L/Cpl Cook's lawyer Richard Lissack QC had questioned whether Mr Hanon had even been there at the time of the alleged incident, after identifying eight instances where he said Mr Hanon's numerous statements were inconsistent.

The hearing continues.


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