Torture charge dropped against British soldier
3 February 2005
OSNABRUECK – Military prosecutors dropped a charge against one of three British soldiers accused of abusing Iraqi prisoners, saying on Thursday at an army camp in Germany they could not prove he had forced two detainees to strip and perform indecent acts.
Lance Corporal Darren Larkin, 30, earlier pleaded guilty to one count of battery. He is believed to be the soldier who was shown in a photo standing surfboard-style with both feet on a tied-up Iraqi lying on concrete pavement.
British Army prosecutors had also alleged he forced the captured men to strip naked to perform in a humiliating, forced “sex show”.
An Army spokesman in Osnabrueck said the prosecutors told the court martial Thursday that they did not have enough evidence to establish that Larkin made the men strip, because a witness was uncertain if Larkin was the soldier involved.
A charge against Corporal Daniel Kenyon, 33, of aiding and abetting Larkin was also dropped. Kenyon still faces other charges. The spokesman said the charge dropped was only one of nine on the indictment against the three accused.
They are being tried in Osnabrueck, Germany because that is where their unit has its home base. The soldiers allegedly abused Iraqis who were suspected of looting a humanitarian aid warehouse outside the Iraqi city of Basra in May 2003.
The case came to light when a fourth soldier who took pictures of the abuse was arrested in England after bringing the film to be developed. That soldier, Fusilier Gary Bartlam, has already been sentenced, but the court has forbidden reporting of the outcome.
Britons were shocked at the publication of the photos, which led to comparisons with US soldiers’ abuse of prisoners last year at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.
Subject: German news