British troops face abuse claims in Iraq

The Ministry of Defence is investigating fresh charges of abuse of Iraqi prisoners after a newspaper paraded a soldier who said he had witnessed savage beatings.

The Daily Mirror said on Friday the soldier, attached to a regiment already under a cloud, had given military police full details of the attacks, including names and ranks of those involved.

He said the violence was led by three ringleaders.

The Mirror has already printed pictures apparently showing British soldiers urinating on a hooded prisoner and beating him with a rifle butt, but their authenticity has been questioned.

Politicians and human rights groups said there appeared to be less doubt about the new allegations which, if proven, would make life even more difficult in the tinderbox of Iraq as the British government considers deploying more soldiers there.

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