First Al-Sweady witnesses to appear

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The Independent Online

The first Iraqi witnesses will start giving evidence before the Al-Sweady inquiry today, on the eve of the tenth anniversary of the invasion.

Their testimony will start the oral evidence of the long-awaited investigation into allegations that injured insurgents were taken back to a British army camp after a brutal battle and tortured or killed – claims that have been vigorously contested by the military.

The inquiry is expected to hear from 60 Iraqis – 15 of them being flown over to London to give evidence in person over the next five weeks.

Today, Mizal Karim Al-Sweady, the father of 19-year-old Hamid Al-Sweady, who died that day and after whom the inquiry is named, is expected to be the first to speak. Among those being flown to London are nine detainees – five of whom claim mistreatment at the hands of British soldiers – and six relatives of those who died.

A further 45 Iraqis will be interviewed via video link from Beirut while as many as 200 military witnesses will give evidence from September.