Stewart MacKenzie, a former soldier, who allegedly sold fake photographs of British troops mistreating an Iraqi prisoner to the Daily Mirror, gave evidence at a court martial against seven colleagues who are accused of abusing Iraqi detainees in Basra last week.
MacKenzie’s seven former colleagues are being tried for offences allegedly committed in Basra in September 2003.
A group of Iraqi prisoners were allegedly beaten while handcuffed and hooded for 36 hours. The mistreatment culminated in the death of one of the men-hotel worker Baha Musa.
MacKenzie is not on trial for the alleged abuse but was at the camp where the men were held and was called as a witness.
The court also heard about a diary MacKenzie had kept in which he boasted of mistreating Iraqi civilians.
He claimed his unit was known as the “Grim Reapers” as they were the first to notch up a kill. One entry in his diary referred to a civilian arrested then given “broken wrists, concussion and sore bollocks”.
On another occasion MacKenzie wrote, “A big Iraqi punched Mr [Craig] Rogers [leader of his section] and got filled in by about ten of us. He was battered from head to toe.”
He also apparently wrote about the death of Musa, “The fat bastard who kept taking off his hood and escaping from his plasticuffs (handcuffs) got put in another room. He resisted and he stopped breathing, then we could not revive him. What a shame.”
The court martial, which is expected to last into next year, continues.