Sunday, February 12, 2006

MoD to probe Iraq 'abuse' video

MoD to probe Iraq 'abuse' video

Pictures from a video allegedly showing British soldiers brutally beating a group of Iraqi teenagers have been published by the News of the World.

The newspaper says the incident took place two years ago in southern Iraq. An unidentified cameraman is heard laughing and urging his colleagues on.

The Ministry of Defence said it was aware of the allegations and the Royal Military Police were investigating.

The footage appears to show soldiers dragging youths and kicking them.

Alleged abuse

The newspaper described the footage as a "secret home video" apparently filmed for fun by a corporal.

It allegedly shows a disturbance in the street outside what the paper calls a military compound.

Soldiers are shown chasing youths involved in the disturbance, dragging four of them into the compound and beating them on various parts of the body with batons and kicking them, one in the genitals.

The recording is said to show an attack lasting a minute, with 42 blows counted.

The News of the World said a soldier could also be seen kicking a dead Iraqi in the face.


The paper claims that it has established that the soldiers involved were British, but would not disclose which unit or regiment were allegedly involved.

It said it has made exhaustive checks to establish the video's authenticity after obtaining the footage from a whistleblower, who they declined to identify.

The Ministry of Defence said it took any allegations of abuse very seriously.

"We condemn all acts of abuse and always treat any allegations of wrongdoing extremely seriously," said Brigadier Martin Rutledge, Chief of Staff to the Adjutant General, who deals with personnel and discipline.

"Over 80,000 service men and women have now served in Iraq since military operations began. Only a tiny number are alleged to have been involved in incidents of deliberate abuse."

The Army's chief General Sir Mike Jackson launched an inquiry last year into the issue of whether pre-deployment training was adequate.

Abuse allegations had damaged the Army but a cover-up would be worse, he said.

Three British soldiers were jailed last year after a prisoner abuse scandal at an aid camp in Iraq.

But photographs published by the Daily Mirror purporting to show soldiers from the Queen's Lancashire Regiment abusing Iraqi detainees were revealed to be fakes.

Officials at the International Criminal Court, meanwhile, have told lawyers for civilians who claim they were tortured by British troops in Iraq that they would not be bringing prosecutions.

Story from BBC NEWS: