Basra (Iraq), Nov.19 : Two Iraqis - Faisal Al-Saadoon, 56, and Khalaf Mufdhi, 58, who have been accused of murdering two captive British soldiers -- Staff Sergeant Simon Cullingworth and Sapper Luke Allsopp - have approached a High Court with a plea to provide them with sanctuary.
According to The Telegraph, Cullingworth and Allsopp, two bomb disposal experts, were dragged from their vehicles during an ambush within days of the Iraq invasion and taken to an intelligence base where they were shot and filmed as they lay dying, surrounded by a baying mob. A month later, their bodies were found in shallow graves.
Their families were first told they died in combat, then Tony Blair, the prime minister at the time, revealed the nature of the killings, describing it as "cruelty beyond all human comprehension".
Yesterday, lawyers for the two men accused of the murders, Faisal Al-Saadoon, 56, and Khalaf Mufdhi, 58, the last two prisoners in British custody in Basra, insisted that they face torture and the death penalty if they go on trial in Iraq for war crimes.
The Defence Secretary, John Hutton intends transferring the men to be tried before the Iraqi Higher Tribunal (IHT).
But their lawyer Karon Monaghan said there was "a real risk" of a "flagrantly unfair trial before the IHT, and the death penalty thereafter". The legally aided hearing, due to last three days, is said to have angered the dead soldiers' relatives, who want to see the men stand trial.