Allegations that British troops executed captured Iraqi prisoners and tortured or seriously abused others after a battle in 2004 were based on lies, a long-running inquiry concluded on Wednesday (December 17), exonerating the armed forces.

The Al-Sweady inquiry, which has lasted five years and cost £31 million pounds, was charged with examining allegations made by Iraqis that British soldiers captured and then murdered 20 men after a battle in southern Iraq.

Iraqi witnesses told the inquiry the soldiers killed the men at the Abu Naji army camp in May 2004 and separately that they had mistreated nine detainees. Troops said throughout that the men died fighting on the battlefield and denied mistreatment.