Torture: British soldiers investigated for touching a Taliban’s nose
Does Britain torture detainees? The Telegraph is doing a spot of Army PR:
A British soldier was investigated for touching a Taliban fighter on the nose with a sheet of paper during a routine interrogation, a former senior military intelligence officer has disclosed.
The soldier was accused of abuse for a minor infringement which broke rules concerning the touching of detainees during questioning.
On another occasion a military intelligence officer in Iraq was investigated for shouting in a suspect’s ear in case he burst an ear drum. The investigation took place four years after the alleged offence, according to the source.
The claims are being made by a former senior interrogator with the Army, who contacted The Telegraph in the wake of this newspaper’s disclosure that the rules governing interrogations are now so stringent that officers feel tactical questioning has become increasingly pointless.
In January, a case began:
A devastating 250-page dossier, detailing allegations of beatings, electrocution, mock executions and sexual assault, has been presented to the International Criminal Court, and could result in some of Britain’s leading defence figures facing prosecution for “systematic” war crimes.
General Sir Peter Wall, the head of the British Army; former defence secretary Geoff Hoon; and former defence minister Adam Ingram are among those named in the report, entitled “The Responsibility of UK Officials for War Crimes Involving Systematic Detainee Abuse in Iraq from 2003-2008”.
The damning dossier draws on cases of more than 400 Iraqis, representing “thousands of allegations of mistreatment amounting to war crimes of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”
They range from “hooding” prisoners to burning, electric shocks, threats to kill and “cultural and religious humiliation”. Other forms of alleged abuse include sexual assault, mock executions, threats of rape, death, and torture.
The formal complaint to the ICC, lodged yesterday, is the cumulation of several years’ work by Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR). It calls for an investigation into the alleged war crimes, under Article 15 of the Rome Statute.
Insults to Islam and sexual depravity feature frequently in the statements: a soldier is alleged to have masturbated over a prisoner, another to have committed sodomy with his finger; female interrogators are claimed to have stripped and feigned seduction in exchange for “information”.
Most of the alleged incidents took place while prisoners were in custody, though some occurred during “strike operations” on people’s homes, with suspects and their families allegedly subjected to abuse and crude violence. Prisoners who died in custody were invariably said to have done so due to “natural causes”, despite beatings and kickings.
A few days ago, we learned:
A British lawyer who represented Iraqi prisoners who made “false accusations” against UK soldiers has refused to say sorry over an inquiry that cost the taxpayer £31m.
The Defence Secretary had called on Public Interest Lawyers and and Leigh, Day & Co to issue an “unequivocal apology” to the soldiers who had been put through the six-year judge-led inquiry after being accused of abuse.
Michael Fallon said the claims had been a “shameful attempt to use our legal system to attack and falsely impugn our armed forces”.
He said the lawyers had made errors, including shredding vital documents, which had cost the taxpayer money and put the soldiers involved through years of uncertainty.
However, John Dickinson of Public Interest Lawyers told Sky News he did not accept that his firm had done anything wrong.
It wasn’t perfect:
The exhaustive inquiry catalogued some instances of ill treatment, and said some soldiers had fallen “below the high standards normally expected of the British Army”. It was critical of the way detainees were blindfolded, strip searched and not given proper meals, but found such ill treatment had often not been deliberate and several procedures had since been changed.
Such are the facts…