Another Abu Ghraib?

November 14, 2009

Britain finished its combat operations in Iraq earlier this year.

But now that the troops are out of the country, the British military is facing accusations of abuse.

Britain's Defence Ministry is investigating 33 new allegations.

The U.K's Independent newspaper broke the story today - you can read it here.

A group of Iraqis says British soldiers raped, tortured and assaulted them while they were in custody. One of the most serious allegations is from a 16-year-old boy who says he was raped. Another claim is a from a 24-year-old man who says he was playing soccer with friends when soldiers picked two of them up. He says the soldiers took them to a base and forced them to fight one another.

The Independent compares the alleged abuses to those carried out by American troops at the now-notorious Abu Ghraib prison. The New York Times has some good archival reminders of what happened there.

Britain's Armed Forces Minister Bill Rammell says he's taking the accusations seriously -- but he doesn't think a full public inquiry is necessary. He says these are isolated incidents, and that the vast majority of British troops in Iraq showed exemplary conduct.

But lawyer Phil Shiner is representing the Iraqi detainees. He says these allegations are about much more than isolated incidents -- and that there's a real problem in the military.

Click here to watch interviews with Rammell and Shiner on the BBC Web site.

Nicole Ireland, Producer, World Report

Nicole Ireland, Producer, World Report