Britain pays compensation to drowned Iraqi teen

22nd July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain's defence ministry said Friday it has paid £100,000 (113,467 euros, $162,066) in compensation to the family of an Iraqi teenager who drowned while in the custody of British troops.

The family of Saeed Shabram, 18, who died near Basra, southern Iraq in 2003, had alleged he was forced into a river by British soldiers with his cousin after being led down a jetty at gunpoint.

"When compensation claims are received by the Ministry of Defence they are considered on the basis of whether or not there is a legal liability to pay compensation," the ministry said in a statement.

"In this case we came to an agreed settlement and our sympathies remain with Mr Shabram's family."

The family's lawyers said it was a "sensible decision".

"Obviously no amount of money can ever hope to make up for the loss of a child or brother, but I hope this compensation will go some way towards helping Saeed Shabram's family rebuild their lives," lawyer Keren Adams said.

Shabram's older cousin Menam Akaili, who survived the incident, will also receive a separate amount of compensation.

He said in a statement: "I feel as though what happened to Saeed was totally pointless."

Adams said British troops used the practice of "wetting" on Iraqi youths suspected of being petty criminals and that British soldiers have attested to it in court-martial proceedings.

The Ministry of Defence denies its use.

© 2011 AFP

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