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Middle East

Iraqis wanted for killing soldiers can be handed over

The High Court has ruled that two Iraqis accused of killing British soldiers in cold blood can be lawfully handed over to the authorities in Baghdad for trial for war crimes, their lawyers said today.

Faisal Al-Saadoon, 56, and Khalaf Mufdhi, 58, currently detained by British forces in Basra, were fighting the move on the grounds that they would be in danger of torture and the death penalty.

But according to their lawyers, two divisional court judges at the High Court in London have ruled that it was lawful for the Secretary of State for Defence to transfer them to the Iraqi Higher Tribunal (IHT) in Baghdad.

Both men are accused of murdering Staff Sergeant Simon Cullingworth and Sapper Luke Allsopp during the Iraq war in 2003.

Phil Shiner, the solicitor representing Mr Al-Saddoon and Mr Mufdhi, said: "We are disappointed by the final decision that it would be lawful for our clients to be transferred to the Iraqi Higher Tribunal in Baghdad, despite the fact that our clients face a real risk of the death penalty if convicted by the Iraqi Higher Tribunal.

"We will however be challenging today's decision to the Court of Appeal and note that in today's judgment, the judges have indicated that they are minded to grant our clients permission to appeal, in view of the obvious difficulty and importance of the issues raised by this case in respect of our clients' exposure to the death penalty."