22.9.06

Soldier 'enjoyed torture'

Soldier 'enjoyed torture':

A British soldier who has admitted charges of committing war crimes in Iraq 'enjoyed' hearing Iraqi civilians call out in pain as they were kicked and punched while in a detention centre, a court martial in Britain was told on Wednesday.

The accused, 35-year-old corporal Donald Payne, referred to the noises made as 'the choir', which he 'conducted' in front of visitors to the centre, prosecutors told the court martial at Bulford camp, near Salisbury in southwest England.

Payne and six other servicemen are on trial in connection with the death of Baha Musa, a 26-year-old Iraqi hotel receptionist, in the port of Basra in 2003.

While Payne has pleaded guilty to war crimes charges, the other six men have pleaded not guilty.

The charges brought against the seven soldiers also relate to the alleged ill-treatment of other detainees.

Prosecutor Julian Bevan said Payne seemed to carry out his 'conductor' role without fear of repercussion.

'The choir consisted of corporal Payne systematically assaulting each detainee in turn by, for instance, hitting them in their stomachs, kicking them and punching them wherever on their bodies, causing them to shriek out or groan in pain, their various noises constituting the music,' he said.

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