War hero 'halted abuse at Iraq camp'

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The Independent Online

A war hero was "disgusted" with himself for not reporting the abuse of Iraqi prisoners, a court martial heard yesterday.

A war hero was "disgusted" with himself for not reporting the abuse of Iraqi prisoners, a court martial heard yesterday.

Sgt Thomas Simon broke up the alleged abuse after finding two naked male prisoners surrounded by laughing soldiers. He said he felt revulsion and shock at the scene and told the captured men to put their clothes back on.

The evidence was heard at the court martial in Osnabrück, Germany, of three British soldiers accused of abusing and assaulting prisoners at a supply camp in Basra in May 2003. Cpl Daniel Kenyon, 33, L/Cpl Mark Cooley, 25, both from Newcastle upon Tyne, and L/Cpl Darren Larkin, 30, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, are all facing the court martial for the alleged abuse and assault of the Iraqi prisoners.

Cpl Kenyon and L/Cpl Cooley deny all charges. L/Cpl Larkin admits one charge of assaulting an unknown male but denies forcing two Iraqi males to undress in front of others.

Sgt Simon, a corporal at the time, who was mentioned in dispatches for destroying an anti-aircraft gun emplacement, said: "Now that I have had time to think about it, seeing what I did see, the two naked Iraqis, I believe now, to my disgust, I should have said something to someone higher up in authority, above me. But due to the state of my subconscious, I didn't. Due to the shock of me actually seeing this, everything else was blocked out."

The incidents came to light after a soldier took photographs to be developed at a shop.

The hearing was adjourned until Monday afternoon.

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