The British military admitted Thursday that some of its troops tortured nine detained Iraqis, including one who died in custody.
The Ministry of Defence said it expects to negotiate compensation with the eight former detainees who are still alive and the family of the dead man, Baha Mousa.
The nine were taken into custody in the southern Iraqi city of Basra as suspected insurgents in 2003. They were held in stress positions and deprived of sleep for about two days in extreme heat.
Mousa, a 26-year-old hotel receptionist, died from asphyxia after soldiers restrained him following an escape attempt.
One soldier, Cpl. Donald Payne, 35, was convicted of inhumane treatment in that case, making him the first British soldier to plead guilty to a war crime under international law.
In a statement that apologized for the abuses on Thursday, Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth stressed that nearly all of the 120,000 British soldiers who have served in Iraq have behaved properly.
"But this does not excuse that during 2003 and 2004 a very small minority committed acts of abuse, and we condemn their actions," Ainsworth said.
In Mousa's case, the Ministry of Defence admitted "a substantive breach" of a provision in the European Convention on Human Rights that recognizes the right to life and another that prohibits torture. It said the torture ban was violated for the eight other detainees.
"The Ministry of Defence further accepts that the admitted substantive breaches of the convention give rise to claims for compensation," the statement said.
Britain's highest court, the House of Lords, ruled in June that prisoners held by British troops are protected by European human rights law.
Who gave them the order to detain them as such? Who told them to put them in stress positions and no sleep? I'm pretty damn sure these soldiers weren't left alone for that whole time and they had to get orders to do that from someone somewhere.
Either it was ordered or the commanding officer of these troops was an idiot and wasn't checking on his troops and their actions in the first place.
Typical.... the lower ranking troops who performed the actions take the fall, while the tools who told them to do this get away and continue to do these things probably as we read this.
And just so we're all aware that these are not isolated incidences:
- US: Vets Break Silence on War Crimes
- Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans Speak Out [Photo Essay]
- Iraq Veterans Against the War presents Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan, March 13-16, 2008
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