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An army legal chief raised concerns about deaths of civilian prisoners in Iraq at the hands of British troops as long ago as May 2003, but was repeatedly ignored "at all levels" of the Government and military, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.
The latest damning revelations were made in a written communication between one of the Army's most senior legal officials and his colleagues. In May 2003, just weeks after the war ended, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Mercer, then chief legal adviser to the First Armoured Division, wrote expressing his concern that "there have recently been a number of deaths in custody where Iraqi civilians have died whilst being held by various units in theatre".