UK military probes claim that Iraqi detainees killed, tortured in Iraq

Britain's military is investigating allegations that 22 Iraqi detainees died in British custody after a battle in Iraq in 2004 and that nine others were tortured, officials said. Britain's Royal Military Police began the investigation in December but the High Court imposed a gag order barring the media from reporting the case. On Thursday, a new High Court ruling lifted the ban. The abuses allegedly took place after fighting between British forces and suspected Iraqi insurgents in Majar, southern Iraq, on May 14, 2004. Two British attorneys - Phil Shiner of Public Interest lawyers and Martyn Day of Leigh Day and Co. - said Thursday that Iraqi witnesses have told them that 31 Iraqis were taken into custody that day, that 22 died in detention and that nine survived after being tortured and abused.