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British soldiers tortured and murdered up to 20 Iraqis in cold blood, the High Court was told yesterday. It happened after a three-hour gun battle at an Army checkpoint near Basra, a lawyer claimed. - Rabinder Singh said a group of local men were taken prisoner and transported to an Army camp where they were beaten with a rusty tent pole, punched, slammed against walls, denied water, blasted with loud music and forced to strip naked in the presence of a woman – a humiliation for Muslim men.
The next day, he said, only nine were still alive – and 20 corpses were returned to their families. One was teenager Hamid Al-Sweady. The Army claims the men all died in the initial gun battle, but Hamid's uncle Khuder Al-Sweady and five survivors of the incident yesterday began a court battle in London to win an independent inquiry.