British soldiers face Iraq abuse charges

  1. last update:
    tuesday, june 15, 2004. 6:57am (aest) brits charged over iraq abuse allegations.

    british soldiers face iraq abuse charges

    by fran kelly and kirsten aiken in london

    four british soldiers will be court-martialled on charges of abusing iraqi detainees.

    the four royal fusiliers members are accused of assault, indecent assault and prejudicing good order.

    they are the first british officers to be charged over the alleged abuse.

    british attorney-general lord goldsmith says the charge of indecent assault involves making the victims engage in sexual activity between themselves.

    in a statement, he says the abuse allegedly took place while the civilians were temporarily held, but not in a prison or detention centre.

    the allegations came to light a year ago when one soldier who had returned from iraq took his film in for processing.

    the photo lab assistant was disturbed by the images and contacted police.

    a date for the military trial is yet to be set but the proceedings will be public.

    the attorney-general says at least four other cases are likely to be referred to the army prosecutor in the near future.

    another case concerning an alleged killing of an iraqi during his arrest has been referred to crown prosecutors and the metropolitan police are investigating.

    in other developments:

    • internal united states military documents show an interrogation unit reported mistreatment of detainees at abu ghraib prison in november 2003, two months before military officials said they learned of prisoner abuses, the new york times reported. (full story)
    • the united states military has freed scores of iraqis from abu ghraib, the prison at the heart of a scandal over abuse by american soldiers. (full story)
    • officers at the united states naval base at guantanamo bay have turned over to military authorities more than 500 hours of videotape showing guards subduing prisoners and forcibly moving them from cells, senior officials said. (full story)