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Charges dropped against 5

February 15, 2007|From the Associated Press

LONDON — A judge dismissed charges Wednesday against five British soldiers accused of mistreating Iraqi detainees but said the court-martial of two other servicemen would continue.

The trial marked the first time a British soldier has pleaded guilty to a war crime under international law. Cpl. Donald Payne, 35, admitted in September that he treated civilians inhumanely. He has not been sentenced.

The nine Iraqis had been detained as suspected insurgents. They allegedly were handcuffed, hooded, beaten, held in stress positions and deprived of sleep for about two days in extreme heat at a barracks near the Iraqi city of Basra in September 2003.

The prosecution said one, hotel worker Baha Mousa, 26, died after being restrained by soldiers when he tried to escape. The eight other detainees were released without charge.

Justice Stuart McKinnon ruled that the prosecution did not have sufficient evidence to convict the five soldiers.

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