British soldier torture claims are ‘deliberate lies’, rules £31m inquiry

The Defence Secretary has accused Iraqi prisoners of attempting to use the UK legal system to damage the reputation of Britain’s armed forces. Michael Fallon lambasted them for making “false allegations” of abuse by British forces, which triggered a judge-led inquiry costing the British taxpayer £31m and put soldiers through six years of anxiety. And he called on their British lawyers to apologise.

This has been a disgrace from start to finish. It has been the work of self-interested lawyers who, for whatever reason, have decided to take the word of those who sought to kill brave British soldiers.

Senior defence sources talking to Sky News

Mr Fallon made his comments after a major inquiry ruled allegations of torture and murder, made against British soldiers by the former prisoners, were “wholly without foundation”. The Al Sweady Inquiry found accusations of war crimes made in 2008 were “entirely the product of deliberate lies, reckless speculation and ingrained hostility”. Mr Fallon called for the lawyers who represented the Iraqi prisoners to issue an “unequivocal apology to the soldiers whose reputations they attempted to traduce”. The Inquiry Chairman, Sir Thayne Forbes, said he found no evidence of tortured or war crimes and concluded the prisoners colluded to discredit the British Army.