Britain probes abuse video 02-13-2006 13:35

Britain's Ministry of Defense has launched an investigation into the alleged abuse of Iraqi civilians by British troops. A video showing the abuse has triggered condemnation in Britain and Iraq. The video showed soldiers kicking and beating four detainees while an off-camera voice praised the attacks.

The tape, believed to be filmed during street riots in Basra in 2004, had been screened at the troops' base before being handed to the British newspaper News of the World by a whistle blower.

The British military says it has begun an investigation. Retired British army colonel Bob Stewart said: "The Ministry of Defence in London has already launched an urgent investigation into what's happened. They will undoubtedly be reviewing how people are trained and how they're controlled in Iraq. This always happens. The answer to the question is will they be reviewing how we operate, the answer is clearly 'yes' - but they (the MOD) have done so much and it seems not to have worked in this case. But can I point out one thing? This happened almost two years ago. Why has it taken so long for people to come forward to show that this abuse has occurred?"

On the streets of Basra there was widespread condemnation. Iraqi civilian Karim al-Mayahi said: "We hope that the occupation troops would get out of the country today, not tomorrow, because they launch random arrests against citizens in Basra. They (the British troops) launch night raids, a matter that indicates instability, when in fact this was due to British troops."

Anther Iraqi civilian said: "We have vehemently condemned the savage acts carried out by British forces against our people in Basra. And we call upon the UN and other international bodies to intervene and to punish the British troops."

The News of the World has refused to identify the whistleblower, but says it made exhaustive checks to confirm the authenticity of the video.

Last year, three British soldiers were jailed and thrown out of the army for abusing prisoners at a camp in Iraq.


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