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Leigh Day team returns from Beirut

Lawyers from Leigh Day & Co have met more Iraqi clients in Beirut

Leigh Day team meet with clients involved in Erinys incident

23 October 2008

A team of lawyers from the International Claims Department at Leigh Day & Co returned from Beirut last week where they had met with a number of Iraqi clients who were involved in four separate incidents of alleged maltreatment. Three claims involve alleged abuse by British soldiers following their occupation of Southern Iraq in March 2003. The fourth claim involves an alleged shooting by a British private military security company, providing support to American forces in Northern Iraq. The detail of the allegations is as follows.

Al Amara claims

In early 2004 a large group of Iraqi demonstrators gathered outside a government building in Al Amara, Iraq, in order to protest about widespread unemployment. Two of the Claimants (who were young boys of only 12 and 14 years at the time) were watching the demonstration when British soldiers started firing rubber bullets into the crowd. In the chaos that followed the boys were captured by British soldiers and dragged into the grounds of a government building. Once inside, the boys were subjected to vicious beatings by British soldiers.

When an Iraqi policeman tried to intervene to help the young boys he was also beaten and detained. The group were then transported to another building, used as a base by the British Forces, where they were again assaulted and forced to maintain painful positions. In total they were detained and maltreated for up to seven hours.

The incident attracted global attention when the News of the World released a video taken of the incident on 12 February 2006.

Basra April 2007 claims

The six Claimants in this matter were together when their house was raided by about 20 British soldiers in the early hours of 1 April 2007. Their house was ransacked and six men, including a 70-year-old Sheik, were detained. The men were hooded and transported to a British Military Facility at Basra Airport. The Claimants allege that during the journey they were severely assaulted by the soldiers, including being kicked and beaten with rifle butts.

At the detention centre, the Claimants were interrogated at regular intervals throughout the night, forced to maintain painful stress positions and subjected to sensory and sleep deprivation. The accounts of our clients suggests that despite the massive concerns raised following the death of Baha Mousa in September 2003, unlawful conditioning techniques continued to be employed on the ground in Iraq.

Three of the six men were released after 48 hours and each offered $5 to get home. The remainder were detained without charge for varying periods. Our clients allege that the Royal Military Police failed to examine their files for months. All of the men were eventually released without charge.

All the Claimants suffered multiple injuries and appear to be suffering significant psychological symptoms as a result of the incident.

Majar claims

Lawyers met with two further survivors from an incident involving the British Army near the Danny Boy checkpoint, just outside the town of Majar Al Kabir in Southern Iraq and thereafter at the British Army Camp, Abu Naji, on 14-15th May 2004. The accounts of these two men substantiate the accounts of other survivors and witnesses previously interviewed by the legal team, and which have resulted in allegations of torture and unlawful killings being made against the MoD and which are currently the subject of investigation by the Royal Military Police.

Claim against Erinys

On 18 October 2007, six Iraqis were travelling from Kirkuk to Sulayminayah in Northern Iraq when Erinys guards opened fire on their taxi. Erinys, a British company, provides security for the US Army in Iraq. One of the passengers lost an eye in the incident, another lost part of an ear and is now partially deaf a third is suffering from severe psychological injuries. These injured passengers are in desperate need of medical treatment and have instructed Leigh Day & Co to pursue a claim against Erinys, arguing that guards fired on the taxi when it posed no apparent threat.

For further information on the above, please contact Sapna Malik on 0207 650 1222

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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