Monday, September 26, 2016

the 'bomb maker' suing UK troops: He wants a £233,000 payout... and our troops face a criminal probe

  • Abd Al-Waheed, 53, was flown to Britain to demand payout after he was jailed for 44 days during the Iraq War
  • His case and another has been passed to a taxpayer-funded probe
  • They are now among 1,668 alleged abuse cases being examined 
Abd Al-Waheed pictured above leaving the Royal Courts of Justice where he is claiming damages for alleged unlawful detention by UK armed forces
Abd Al-Waheed pictured above leaving the Royal Courts of Justice where he is claiming damages for alleged unlawful detention by UK armed forces
Troops dragged to the High Court by a suspected Iraqi bomb maker claiming nearly £250,000 compensation now face a criminal probe, the Mail can reveal.

A lance corporal and another soldier were quizzed by a British judge this summer, nine years after the incident.

Abd Al-Waheed, 53, was flown to Britain to demand up to £233,000 in compensation after he was imprisoned for 44 days during the Iraq War.

Last night it emerged his case and that of a second Iraqi, Kamil Najim Alseran, had been passed by disgraced law firm Leigh Day to a taxpayer-funded probe investigating alleged criminality.

They are now among 1,668 cases of alleged abuse by British soldiers being examined by the Iraq Historical Allegations Team (Ihat).

The move raises the prospect of heavy-handed detectives from Ihat quizzing the soldiers who could then face prosecution.

One of the soldiers who gave evidence about the treatment of Mr Al-Waheed in the civil case and now faces an Ihat investigation, said: ‘It feels like a betrayal.’

Speaking to the Daily Mail, he added: ‘Going before the High Court is unpleasant but if a government-run institution picks up on it that is a totally different kettle of fish.
‘It is the fear of the unknown and it could be very upsetting.’

The lance corporal, a veteran of two tours of Iraq who was also dragged before the judge, added: ‘You don’t want this hanging over your head. I want to put this all behind me.

‘Soldiers who have done something wrong should be brought to justice but I don’t think the lads who have been out operating in high-risk and stressed environments and were following orders should be.’

 He described how he received a letter earlier this year from the Ministry of Defence asking him to give evidence to a civil court case over Mr Al-Waheed’s detention.

‘I was shocked when I got a letter from the MoD, it was a bolt from the blue,’ he said. ‘It had been nine years and I never expected to suddenly be giving evidence.

‘Then I presumed that was the end of it. I never expected to get the phone call in the first place and if anything else is going to happen then I’m not going to be happy.’

Months later the two soldiers were told the case had been passed to Ihat as part of the probe into alleged wrongdoing by British troops.

Mr Al-Waheed, believed by British soldiers to be a bomb maker, became the first claimant to come before an English judge to give evidence in person after being flow from Basra, southern Iraq, in June.

The suspected insurgent demanded up to £233,000 in compensation after he was imprisoned for 44 days, documents seen by the Mail show.

The three-times married father-of-eight’s claim included potential pay-outs for ‘damage to teeth’ and ‘loss of earnings’.

Mr Alseran claimed as much as £46,000 after he was detained for 52 days following his arrest a week after the start of the war in March 2003. 

The soldiers were not involved in the Alseran case but the two claims were heard together.

On day four of the five-week hearing, the two former soldiers were dragged before the judge to testify.

According to the troops, Mr Al-Waheed was found in 2007 handling a deadly roadside bomb on a sofa in a house which contained mortars and plastic explosives.

But addressing the court in London, he said he was asleep with his wife in bed.

 He alleged he was beaten by the British soldiers with rifle butts before being transported to Basra airport and tortured with ‘electric cutters’ used to pinch his flesh.

Derek Sweeting QC, for the MoD, accused Mr Al-Waheed of telling lies about his treatment.
The soldier involved in Mr Al-Waheed’s detention was adamant that he was not attacked.

The lance corporal also gave evidence to say he did not see a soldier mistreat the detainee.
Mr Al-Waheed was arrested at the house belonging to his in-laws in Basra.

 His lawyers said it was a case of mistaken identity and his brother-in-law was the target of the raid.

Last night a spokesman for Leigh Day confirmed it had handed the case onto Ihat.

He added: ‘The civil case against the MoD went to trial in June-July and judgment is awaited. It would be inappropriate for us to comment.’

An Ihat spokesman said the two cases were at ‘pre-investigation’ stage. Investigators will determine if any lines of inquiry exist before they quiz any soldiers, he added.

Details emerged as mothers of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq launched a new petition calling for an end to the witch-hunt.

They include Rose Gentle, whose son Gordon, 19, was killed in 2004. She said: ‘This has got to stop. They were just doing their job.’

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