UK hands Iraqi ‘caught making a bomb’ £33k as time in custody breached human rights
A SUSPECTED Iraqi insurgent has been awarded £33,000 in compensation after a court ruled British troops had violated his human rights.
Alleged Iraqi insurgent Abd Al-Waheed has been awarded £33k compensation by the Ministry of Defence
Abd Al-Waheed, 54, is to receive the taxpayer-subsidised sum despite the soldiers who arrested him insisting he was handling a bomb when they burst into a house in Basra in 2007.
Troops found mortars, plastic explosives and other bomb making kit inside the property, but the High Court ruled his 44-day detention by British troops was unlawful under the European Convention of Human Rights.
The father-of-eight disputed accounts he was caught making a roadside bomb and said he asleep with his wife when the house was raided.
He claimed he was beaten by British troops before being interrogated and tortured with “electric cutters” at Basra airport.
And he won his claim against the Ministry of Defence (MoD) despite the judge in the case saying Mr Al-Waheed had “greatly exaggerated” his allegations of mistreatment.
Colonel Richard Kemp, who commanded British troops in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, branded the decision “insane”.
He said: “Too often the courts decide the human rights of terrorist suspects are more important than the human rights of potential victims.
“It is insanity.”
Mr Al-Waheed’s was arrested at the height of the Iraqi insurgency in which 179 British service personnel lost their lives.
He was taken into custody just weeks after a British solider was killed and another two were seriously wounded after an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated close to their vehicle.
Private Luke Simpson, 21, died in the blast on February 9, 2007.
The explosion also left Captain Ibra Ali needing his right hand amputated, while injuries sustained by Private Christopher Herbert meant his leg below his right knee was removed
Following the blast, Captain Gareth Fulton led a team on the raid where Mr Al-Waheed was arrested.
Captain Fulton, who served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, admitted at a hearing last year it would have been tempting for the troops to assault Mr Al-Waheed.
But he insisted his team had not attacked the Iraqi, a claim which was backed up by Lance Corporal David Turner.
Mr Al-Waheed was arrested in the house, which belonged to his in-laws.
His lawyers claimed his capture was a case of mistaken identity because his brother-in-law was the intended target of the raid.
Derek Sweeting QC, for the MoD, told the court the three-times married Iraqi had “made up” his claims of mistreatment.
But despite the judge in the case, Mr Justice Leggett, admitting the allegations were “greatly exaggerated”, there was evidence to show he had been beaten and suffered a painful finger injury.
The court awarded Mr Al-Waheed £15,000 in “respect of beating” after his arrest.
A further £15,000 was awarded for additional inhuman treatment.
A final £3,300 was paid in compensation because he was unlawfully detained for 33 days of the 44 he spent in captivity.
Under the Geneva Convention, captives can be detained for as long as it can be justified their imprisonment is an “imperative” for security.
But if they do not pose a threat, the European Convention on Human Rights takes over.
The convention, which the UK is signed up to, states detainees should not be held any longer than 96 hours.
Mr Al-Waheed launched his claim against the Ministry of Defence (MoD) last year in a landmark human rights case.
And military officials now fear the decision could pave the way for hundreds more cases from Iraqis suspected of killing or maiming British troops during the Iraq war.
If UK courts follow the precedent set by Mr Al-Waheed’s case, the final bill could run into tens of millions of pounds.