London: Hundreds of
British soldiers will be investigated for crimes allegedly
committed during the Iraq war, the Telegraph reported Sunday.
Investigators with the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) have
identified more than 100 serving and former members of the armed
forces who they want to interview about the alleged torture of
However, the Telegraph said the number could rise as IHAT begins
reviewing the evidence from two public inquiries into the alleged
British lawyers acting for Iraq claim the abuse took place between
2003 and 2008, when many civilians were detained on suspicion of
being in Shia militia groups.
The majority of the allegations are based on witness statements by
Iraqis, most of whom are seeking financial compensation from
Britain, sources told the British daily.
Lawyers acting for troops questioned by IHAT, however, said the
evidence against them was "extremely weak".
One lawyer said his client, a member of the special forces, was
accused of "inhumane and degrading treatment" of a detainee
because the suspected gunman had not been allowed to eat for 24
hours, when he had been in British custody for only four hours.
"It later transpired that he had been attacking British troops for
at least 12 hours, which explained why he hadn't eaten. Yet those
facts hadn't been considered," the lawyer was quoted as saying.
In another case, a British interrogator was alleged to have
assaulted an Iraqi by "hitting him on the back of the head with a
piece of rolled-up A4 paper".
And in a third charge of assault, it was alleged that two
interrogators brutalised a suspected Iraqi insurgent by making him
do heavy exercise over several hours.
But video evidence revealed the suspect was only out of the
interview room for two-and-a-half minutes, the Telegraph reported.