Call for public inquiry into claims Iraqis abused by British



LONDON- Lawyers for scores of Iraqis who claim they were abused by British soldiers called on Thursday for a public inquiry into how the country's forces have treated detainees during the US-led war.
A law firm representing 66 Iraqis said claims that British troops mistreated prisoners during the Iraq conflict were so numerous and similar that defence officials must hold a single inquiry into Britain's detention policy.



A British soldier in Basra in 2006
A British soldier in Basra in 2006
British soldiers are accused by the claimants of subjecting Iraqis to rape, sexual humiliation and torture.
"There are so many cases and so many have so much in common -- similar allegations at similar facilities, often involving the same people," said lawyer Phil Shiner, from the firm Public Interest Lawyers.
"We can't have these dragged out over 10 or 15 years. This is the only rational option."
The lawyers will lodge a claim for a judicial review on behalf of all the alleged victims on Friday.
Defence authorities have received the request for a public inquiry and will examine it, said armed forces minister Bill Rammell.
"Our view remains that a public inquiry is not justified, but the (Ministry of Defence) is considering this again and will respond in due course," he said.
Two public inquiries have already been launched into allegations that British troops abused Iraqis.
The first is into the death of a hotel worker in British military custody in September 2003, and the second -- announced in November -- will probe claims that Iraqis were unlawfully killed and mistreated at a British base.
Britain provided the second largest contingent of troops to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, with a deployment that peaked at 46,000.
It ended combat operations in Iraq in April 2009, when all but a handful of British troops started returning home.
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Thursday, February 4th 2010
AFP
           


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