Graphic pictures of dead Iraqis, some showing signs of alleged torture at the hands of British troops, have been shown at the opening of a public inquiry.
The bodies of the Iraqis - returned after they were taken to a British Camp during the Iraq War - showed apparent signs of torture, including missing eyes and mutilated genitals, the long-awaited Al-Sweady Inquiry heard.
The inquiry, ordered some three years ago, is examining claims that UK soldiers murdered and tortured Iraqis after the Battle of Danny Boy in Maysan Province, southern Iraq, in May 2004.
It is alleged that Iraqis were unlawfully killed at Camp Abu Naji (CAN) near Majar-al-Kabir on May 14 and 15 2004, and that five Iraqi detainees were tortured and ill-treated both at CAN and at Shaibah Logistics Base, where they were held for the next four months.
In an opening statement, counsel to the inquiry Jonathan Acton Davis QC said insurgents ambushed the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders near a checkpoint known as Danny Boy on May 14 2004.
"A fierce battle ensued which involved not only the Argylls but also soldiers from the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment," he said.
"It resulted in many Iraqis being killed and in two British soldiers being wounded."
Enemy dead would normally have been left on the battlefield, but bodies of 20 Iraqis were taken to CAN, along with nine detainees, to try to identify an insurgent involved in the murder of six British soldiers in 2003, he said.
"It was the claimants' case that not all of the 20 died on the battlefield, and that at least one of them was murdered by a British soldier after he had been returned alive to CAN," Mr Acton Davis said.
The MoD has vigorously denied all the allegations, saying any deaths happened on the battlefield. The inquiry, at Finlaison House in central London, will continue on Tuesday at 10.30am.