| ||A court has heard that British servicemen, who filmed hundreds of interrogation sessions at “the UK’s Abu Ghraib” prison in Iraq, may be guilty of war crimes. |
From The Guardian:
“Evidence of the alleged systematic and brutal mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at the facility, operated by a military intelligence unit called the Joint Forces Interrogation Team (JFIT), has been submitted during proceedings brought by more than 200 former inmates.”
Further abuse methods allegedly employed by UK servicemen include starvation, sleep deprivation, prisoners being forced to kneel in stressful positions for up to 30 hours, electric shocks, sexual humiliation and kicking and beating prisoners with rifle butts.
There are a reported 222 men that are bringing the proceedings to court.
One detainee, “Hanif”, told the court how “the interrogator said they had brought my wife and my mother. He told me: ‘If you don't confess we are going to arrest all your brothers and they will be jailed for life and you will never see them again, and your mother and wife will be raped.’”
Michael Fordham QC, counsel for the men, told the court: “The question needs to be asked, if these very serious allegations are true ... are these British war crimes?”
“Lawyers for the former JFIT inmates say there needs to be a public inquiry, to discover what happened and to investigate the extent to which the abuses were systemic, as well as to establish the lessons to be learned. Today's proceedings were intended to force such an inquiry. In a related case, around 250 Iraqi people detained by British forces are seeking damages for injuries they say they suffered.”
In October, the Guardian discovered that the British military had been training interrogators in techniques designed to humiliate and threaten detainees. Training materials drawn up in secret after the Baha Mousa inquiry were found to be in breach of the 1949 Geneva Convention. The recording of over 1,253 interrogation sessions is suggested by the Guardian to be used for the purposes of training. Both revelations suggest a systematic approach to carrying out abuse of prisoners.
In further evidence of systematic abuse, Rabinder Singh QC, counsel for Baha Mousa (who was tortured and killed at the hands of British soldiers) told the public inquiry in to his death, "This case is not just about beatings or a few bad apples. There is something rotten in the whole barrel."
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