British soldiers abused Iraqi POWs

British police have arrested a soldier after pictures developed by a photo lab showed British troops abusing Iraqi prisoners of war (POWs), the Ministry of Defence said on Friday.

    British soldiers allegedly abused
    Iraqi POWs

    Lab workers phoned the police after they became concerned about snapshots in a film, which was handed in to their shop by a soldier who had returned from Iraq, The Sun newspaper reported.


    One picture was of an Iraqi POW bound, gagged, bundled in a net and hanging from a fork-lift truck that was driven by a British soldier, according to the best-selling tabloid.


    “Others allegedly depict soldiers committing sex acts near captured Iraqis”, the paper reported.


    Defence Ministry confirms


    A defence ministry spokesman confirmed that police in the central English county of Staffordshire had arrested a soldier, but declined to give information on the soldier's identity and unit. 


    But The Sun paper said the soldier was serving in the 1st battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in southern Iraq at the time when the pictures were taken.


    It said he was arrested by civilian police when he was on leave at his home in the English Midlands following the collapse of the Iraqi regime.


    "We're confirming that there is an investigation and Staffordshire police have arrested one guy," the spokesman said. "It's being thoroughly investigated at the moment."


    Staffordshire police were not immediately available for comment.


    Another spokeswoman said: “If there is any truth in these

    allegations, the MoD (Ministry of Defence) is appalled. We take responsibility to POWs extremely seriously."


    If allegations of torture prove to be true, the soldiers involved would be guilty of violating the Geneva Convention which states that POWs have to be treated humanely.


    This is the first time a British soldier is arrested on suspicion of POW abuse since the end of the war on Iraq.


    Authorities are also investigating accusations by an American officer that a British lieutenant colonel had mistreated his prisoners.


    Britain contributed 45,000 military personnel, a naval task force and more than 100 aircraft to the war. British forces currently occupy the southern part of Iraq.


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