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Inquiry Rejects Claims British Troops Killed, Tortured Iraqi Prisoners

A British public inquiry has rejected allegations that British troops killed Iraqi prisoners and tortured or seriously abused others after a 2004 battle in southern Iraq.

The so-called Al-Sweady inquiry concluded on December 17 that the allegations were "baseless."

Led by Thayne Forbes, the five-year inquiry examined allegations made by Iraqi citizens.

Forbes said "the vast majority of the allegations made against the British military" were "wholly and entirely without merit or justification."

He said that included "all the most serious allegations" without exception.

Forbes said that "many of those baseless allegations were the product of deliberate and calculated lies on the part of those who made them."

Iraqi witnesses told the inquiry that British soldiers killed 20 men at the Abu Naji army camp in May 2004 and, separately, that they mistreated nine detainees.

The British troops said the men were killed in combat and denied mistreatment.

Based on reporting by Reuters and BBC