September 9, 2009 / 3:34 PM / 10 years ago

Iraqi officials cleared of British troop murders

A cross stands in the Garden of Remembrance, Westminster Abbey, London, in memory of Sergeant Simon Cullingworth of 33 Engineer Reigment who was killed during the Iraq conflict, November, 6, 2003. REUTERS/David Bebber

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - An Iraqi court acquitted two former officials of Saddam Hussein’s government on Wednesday of war crimes for the alleged murder of two British soldiers during the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

The Iraqi High Tribunal found insufficient evidence to convict Khalaf Hussain and Faisal al-Sadoun for the murders.

Staff Sergeant Simon Cullingworth, then 36, and Sapper Luke Allsopp, who was 24, were captured near the southern oil city of Basra during the invasion and then executed in captivity.

Their bodies were later shown on television lying by a roadside and surrounded by an exultant mob.

Judge Nazar al-Moussawi read the verdict in the tribunal, a special court set up after Saddam was toppled to try officials from his era for war crimes.

“The court decides to drop charges of war crimes in the case against Khalaf Hussain and Faisal al-Sadoun for lack of evidence and it orders their immediate release,” he said.

Saddam executed in December 2006 after the tribunal convicted him of crimes against humanity for the killing of 148 Shi’ite Muslim men after a 1982 assassination attempt.

Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Jon Hemming

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