News / Middle East

Iraqis Claim Abuse by British Military

British soldiers patrol the streets of Basra, southeast of Baghdad,15 Jul 2008
British soldiers patrol the streets of Basra, southeast of Baghdad,15 Jul 2008

A group of over 100 Iraqi civilians are suing for a broad British inquiry into the torture and abuse they say they suffered at the hands of British soldiers and interrogators following the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The Iraqis say they were abused in British military facilities in Iraq between 2003 and 2008.

Phil Shiner, head of the human rights firm that's representing the Iraqis, Public Interest Lawyers, spoke at a recent press conference in London.

"There are hundreds of Iraqis now complaining of ill treatment and torture, often a result of coercive interrogation techniques by UK interrogators within secret facilities run by the joint forwards interrogation team,"  he said.

He said the Iraqi civilians were victim to a host of abuses including rape, sleep deprivation, and death threats.

Many, he says, didn't survive the abuse.

Lawyer Phil Shiner listens during a press conference in London (File)
Lawyer Phil Shiner listens during a press conference in London (File)

"There appear to be many cases other than that of Baha Mousa where Iraqis died in UK custody and were then certified as dying from natural causes," said Shiner. "None of these deaths have been investigated. Many of these Iraqis were hooded and abused and my law firm does not accept the Ministry of Defense's explanation that each and every one of these deaths has an innocent explanation."

Britain's Ministry of Defense says the allegations are unproven.

The MOD has set up a team to investigate all alleged cases of abuse by British service personnel in Iraq, known as the Iraq Historic Allegations Team.

And an inquiry has already been carried out into specific allegations related to the abuse of Baha Mousa. Another trial related to a specific Iraqi is due to begin next year.  

But Public Interest Lawyers say this process is too slow and that with over 100 claimants it would take over 100 years to finish the investigation. Instead, it wants a single inquiry into Britain's detention policy in South East Iraq.

Tim Cooke-Hurle is from the London-based human rights campaign group Reprieve.

He says public inquiries are key to transparency and those that have already been set up show important progress. But he says it's important that those inquiries cover all possible abuses in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"It has to be that the inquiries cover over bases, that where the United Kingdom have been cooperating with other forces overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, we need to know through a robust inquiry that our detention operations have in fact been properly scrutinized," he said.

Britain's Minister of Defense says a new inquiry would be costly and neither "necessary [n]or appropriate".

The hearing in London is expected to conclude next week.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs