Al-Sweady inquiry: Key evidence from investigation

Army soldiers with Iraqi detainees Image copyright Handout
Image caption Iraqi detainees shown with their hands tied behind their backs

The Battle of Danny Boy took place in southern Iraq more than a decade ago. But exactly what happened there has been debated for years.

Now, the public inquiry into the events of 14 May 2004 is reporting on the allegations that British soldiers mistreated Iraqis.

Millions of documents were examined - with 5,200 disclosed as being relevant to core inquiry participants.

There were 282 witnesses who have evidence over 168 days - 222 from the military, 56 Iraqis and four experts.

We look at the key evidence to emerge during the inquiry.

4 March 2013

Lead counsel for the inquiry, Jonathan Acton Davis QC, makes his opening submission.

The Iraqi participants are represented by Patrick O'Connor QC on behalf of the solicitors firm PIL (Public Interest Lawyers). Members of the military are represented by Neil Garnham QC on behalf of the Treasury Solicitor. The MoD are represented by Jeremy Johnson QC.

18 March 2013

Former Iraqi detainees from the Battle of Danny Boy start to give evidence to the inquiry.

Allegations include: That shots were fired by British soldiers while the Iraqi detainees were being questioned at British base Camp Abu Naji (CAN); a tent peg was banged on a table in front of them; a firearm was used to threaten them; detainees were beaten and stripped in order to humiliate them.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mizal Karim Al-Sweady, seen holding a picture of his son, gave evidence at the inquiry

18/19 April 2013

Khudur Al-Sweady, uncle of Hamid Al-Sweady - who, it was initially claimed, was murdered at CAN - gives evidence. Among his allegations are that the British used biological weapons.

19 June 2013

Iraqi witness Adnan Al-Fartoosi alleges that an Iraqi taxi driver who had been shot and injured by British soldiers was then tied by his arms and legs to the front of a British armoured vehicle, with his arms outstretched, and the vehicle then drove off.

26 June 2013

Dr Adel Al-Shawi, director of the hospital at Majar Al-Kabir, alleges he found signs of torture on the bodies of Iraqis returned to the hospital from CAN including "beating, cuts, bruises, genitals being damaged, disfiguring of the body," as well as an eye being deliberately removed.

1/2 July 2013

Home Office forensic pathologist Dr Peter Jerreat gives evidence about the cause of death of Iraqis killed in action.

He finds that the injuries he saw in photographs and videos were likely to have been caused before death on the battlefield and he can find no obvious signs of mutilation or torture.

2 September 2013

The first military witnesses give evidence to the inquiry.

4 September 2013

Duncan Aston from 2nd Battalion the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (2PWRR) tells the inquiry he saw Sgt Paul Kelly firing into the "twitching" bodies of two Iraqis. He said he could not be sure if they were still alive.

9 September 2013

Sgt Kelly denies deliberately shooting into twitching bodies of Iraqis but says he may have shot people on the ground as he fired in a sweeping motion.

26 September 2013

Mark Keegan, who was in 6 Platoon, but left the Army in 2007, is asked about a statement made in January 2013 about seeing a detainee being struck by a rifle butt. He says he now cannot remember this.

He is asked about a BBC interview with reporter John Sweeney in which he described platoon Sgt Kelly as being known as "angry dad". He also told Panorama about mistreatment of a detainee, saying: "All the blokes were running past and punching him in the head" and "I see him have massive rocks thrown at his head." He tells the inquiry this was a "make believe, built up, exaggerated story."

27 October 2013

Documents - including the "list of detainees' names for the British occupying forces" - are disclosed to the inquiry and appear to confirm that the detainees held by the British army were members of or associated with the insurgency, as it identifies the platoons to which they belonged.

Phil Shiner from Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) - acting for the Iraqi participants - acknowledges legal aid may not have been granted to have brought the initial proceedings that resulted in the inquiry, if this document had been disclosed.

4 December 2013

James Rands (a captain at the time), the battle group intelligence officer, gives evidence about taking photos of the enemy dead "because it was the logical thing to do" to build up a database.

He denies altering timings on the camera so they seemed to have been taken later. He confirms throwing two computers into the English Channel in 2006 and 2007 with secret hard drives in them containing photos of the detainees, saying they had both broken down and "it made sense to just be shot of the bloody things".

He says he would have faced disciplinary action for breaching security rules by keeping confidential information on them - with a potential impact on his career.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Iraqis were detained by British troops after a fierce battle

16 January 2014

An army witness, known only as M004, who tactically questioned Iraqi detainees at CAN, admits using a one-foot-long tent peg which he banged on a table to scare the detainees and to shouting and screaming at them.

3 February 2014

Matthew Maer - formerly the Lt Colonel who was commanding officer of 1st Battalion the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (1PWRR) - gives evidence about the decision to collect the dead bodies of Iraqis from the battlefield. He says he assumed it had come from brigade headquarters. He says he was "surprised" the bodies were brought back to CAN.

14 February 2014

David Falconer - a Sgt Major in 1PWRR who was awarded the Military Cross for his actions at Danny Boy - tells the inquiry about moving from ditch to ditch to clear out insurgents.

20 March 2014

PIL make a statement saying they will no longer submit that, on the balance of probabilities, live Iraqis captured during the Battle of Danny Boy died or were killed at Camp Abu Naji.

PIL say there is insufficient material to establish Iraqi civilians were unlawfully killed while in the custody of British troops at CAN. However, the allegations of misconduct remain.

16 April 2014

Closing submissions by the core participants.

17 December 2014

The findings of the inquiry are published.

More on this story