British soldier fired at twitching bodies in Iraq, ex-private testifies
LONDON (REUTERS) - A British soldier saw his platoon sergeant fire automatic rifle rounds into the twitching bodies of two Iraqi gunmen lying on the ground during a battle in 2004, he said in a written witness statement released on Wednesday.
In his evidence to a public inquiry into Iraqi allegations of atrocities by British troops during or after the battle of Danny Boy on May 14, 2004, Mr Duncan Aston also said he had seen a fellow soldier stamp on the head of a dead man.
A private at the time who has since left the army, Mr Aston further described seeing three fellow soldiers punch and kick an Iraqi detainee captured during the firefight, named after a checkpoint near the town of Majar al-Kabir in southern Iraq.
The Al-Sweady Inquiry is investigating a range of allegations, including that British troops captured some Iraqis alive and later executed them at their camp, that they mutilated bodies, and that they tortured detainees. If the inquiry were to confirm the most serious Iraqi allegations, the Danny Boy events would go down as some of the worst atrocities of the Iraq war, inviting comparison with the abuse of prisoners by US troops at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib jail.