Thirty soldiers fight for payout from MoD over false claims they committed 'war crimes' in Iraq
Thirty British soldiers who were falsely accused of war crimes in Iraq are suing the Ministry of Defence for £20million.
In a landmark legal case to be launched this month, they claim defence chiefs failed to uphold a duty of care.
They say the MoD facilitated a legal witch-hunt which ruined careers and led to broken marriages and emotional disorders.
It comes after the MoD paid Iraqi legal agent Abu Jamal £40,000 a year to help bring claims by families of suspected insurgents killed by UK troops.
Innocent soldiers were then hounded by the Iraq Historical Allegations Team based on bogus statements provided by the agent.
The 30-strong group are also understood to be suing indemnity insurers who supported lawyer Phil Shiner.
He was struck off by the Solicitors Regulation Authority after claiming British troops unlawfully killed and tortured Iraqis.
He was found to have agreed to pay 'sweeteners' to an Iraqi fixer to persuade him to change his evidence to the Al-Sweady Inquiry – a UK legal probe into soldiers' conduct which cost £31million.
Soldiers say they felt hugely let down by the MoD for its role in the evidence-gathering process and failure to establish claims brought by compensation-seeking Iraqis were lies.
They are seeking payouts to cover loss of earnings and pension entitlements. The group includes ex-Colour Sergeant Brian Wood, who won a Military Cross for bravery, but was later investigated for murder.
Another claimant, Major Robert Campbell, was hounded by military police and lawyers for 18 years over the death of a teenager in Basra in 2003.
He was eventually cleared last year but said the allegations 'destroyed' his career.