15 Nov 2009

Britain probes new Iraq torture allegations

11:07 am on 15 November 2009

An investigation has been launched into new allegations that British soldiers tortured Iraqi civilians.

Britain's Ministry of Defence announced the probe after the Independent said 33 cases of alleged abuse had been reported, including claims of rape, the use of torture techniques and physical assault.

Lawyers acting for former Iraqi detainees are calling for a full public inquiry into all abuse claims made during UK military involvement there, the BBC reports.

One allegation is that two soldiers raped a 16-year-old boy in 2003.

Armed forces minister Bill Rammell says formal inquiries must be held "without judgements being made prematurely".

A public inquiry is already under way into the death of Iraqi civilian Baha Mousa, who died in British custody with 93 separate injuries.

One claimant alleges he was raped by two British soldiers, while others say they were stripped naked, abused and photographed, the Independent said.

Another detainee said that when he was arrested he was kicked and hit, and an electric baton was used on parts of his body.

A fellow Iraqi, detained in 2006, claimed he was sexually humiliated.

The lawyers said that since the British withdrawal from Basra in the summer, they had heard a host of allegations of abuse dating back to 2003.