British forces killed son - Iraqi.

An Iraqi man has told an Arab television station that British troops tortured and killed his son in detention, and then apologised and offered him 1,700 in compensation for the death.

The accusation by Dawood Salim came amid an international scandal over abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, as well as allegations of British mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners.

In an interview with Al-Arabiya satellite TV network, Salim said his son, Bahaa Dawood Salim Mousa, and six other Iraqis were arrested on September 14 "without any justified reason" while working at the Ibn al-Haitham hotel in Basra, the biggest city in southern Iraq.

"After two days of torture, he was killed," the father said. "I saw my son's body. His nose was broken, three of his ribs were broken."

He said there also bruises on his son's arms and other parts of his body.

"The British commander sent us an apology, of which I have a copy, saying that they are sorry for killing him with no reason in their detention centres," he said. "Then they offered us US$ 3,000 as compensation for my son."

A High Court judge in London allowed Mousa's family and 12 other families to proceed with a civil case against the government.

Prime Minister Tony Blair insisted on Wednesday that there was no evidence of "systematic abuse" carried out by British troops. He has come under pressure to explain why he and senior ministers only became aware of a damning international Red Cross report only a few days ago. The report, issued in February, detailed allegations of abuse.

The leaked Red Cross report said abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers at Abu Ghraib was widespread and routine and included brutality, humiliation and threats of "imminent execution."

In London, the Ministry of Defence said there was "an interim payment" paid to the family of about $ 3,000 and it was accepted. "Compensation is made without admission of liability on the part of the (Ministry of Defence) or culpability on the part of British forces personnel, and reflects the local norms," the department added.

[Source: The Express, London, UK, 14May04]

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