7 British paratroopers accused of murder begin trial

Monday, September 5, 2005

Seven paratroopers accused of beating three Iraqis—one to death—are now standing trial in Essex, United Kingdom.

On May 11, 2003 a part of a platoon of the 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment visited a "small southern Iraqi village". They pursued and stopped a white Toyota truck driven by Athar Finnjan Saddam who, along with 18-year-old Nadhem Abdullah, was taken out of the truck and thrown to the ground. It is at this time that the paratroopers allegedly began beating both men brutally without provocation.

Dalal Sadaam, a female relative who had just given birth, attempted to stop the violence only to be assaulted herself by the butt of a rifle to the mouth. A woman who was pregnant at the time in the vehicle shouted for the soldiers to stop. After the soldiers left, the other victims took Abdullah to a doctor. The doctor sent him to a hospital, but he died en route.

Only two of the paratroopers even recalled the incident months later, but evidence of the victim's blood has been found on at least one of the soldier's guns. Eyewitnesses were mostly illiterate Marsh Arabs who have had trouble understanding the interviewer's questions but have been cooperating fully.

A price of about £2 million is currently being attached to the cost of the trial in the UK; however, the family of the victim may be able to extract civil damages from the UK in the emerging Iraqi judicial system.