Charges Dismissed Against 5 Soldiers In British War Crimes

Wednesday, February 14th 2007, 9:08 am
By: News On 6

LONDON (AP) _ A judge dismissed charges Wednesday against five British soldiers accused of mistreating Iraqi civilian detainees, but said the court-martial would continue against two other servicemen accused of negligently performing their duties.

The trial, in its 80th day on a British army base, has tarnished the image of Britain's military with accusations of war crimes because one of the defendants, Cpl. Donald Payne, 35, pleaded guilty to the charge of inhumanely treating the Iraqi civilians, making him the first British soldier to plead guilty to a war crime under international law.

The nine Iraqi detainees allegedly were handcuffed, hooded, beaten, held in stress positions and deprived of sleep for about two days in extreme heat at a British army barracks near the southern Iraqi city of Basra in September 2003