Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

British soldiers guilty of Afghan prisoner assault

Two Royal Marines were yesterday dismissed from the forces for assaulting an Afghan prisoner with a Wellington boot after he was detained on suspicion of planting a roadside bomb.

Captain Jody Wheelhouse and Sergeant Mark Leader attacked Mohammad Ekhlas with a Wellington boot after he was arrested for allegedly planting improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Sgt Leader, based at the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, Devon, was found guilty by a court martial panel of assault causing actual bodily harm in March last year.

Cpt Wheelhouse, from 45 Commando, Arbroath, Scotland, admitted the same offence at an earlier hearing. Mr Ekhlas, who was arrested at Sangin, in Helmand, was later brought into the custody of Afghan authorities and subsequently released. Cpt Wheelhouse was sentenced to dismissal with disgrace, while Sgt Leader was dismissed.

Judge Michael Hunter said: "Acts such as this against an unarmed man undermine the standards of our armed forces."

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