British Version of Abu Ghraib in Iraq
More than 200 Iraqi civilians were subjected to inhuman torture and abuse inside the British controlled detention facilities, Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) group claimed on its website. The incidents occurred during the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion from 2003 to 2008, came to light in PIL’s investigations. PIL sought all cases to be treated as a single case instead of dealing them on piecemeal basis, which would deprive many Iraqis of justice.
Mazin Younis, advisor for the PIL said, “Since my first trip to Basra in 2004 to meet a handful of Iraqis claiming to have been abused by British soldiers, the list of claimants has shot up dramatically. …At this very movement, more than 60 new cases have flooded in from southern Iraq; we don’t know yet what kinds of abuse they will be revealing.”
While the PIL announced 142 Iraqi detainee abuse cases reached High Court, Younis added fresh 60 cases that have not yet been produced. The PIL is appealing for a judicial review of a denial by Ministry of Defense (MoD) to order wider public inquiry into allegations of widespread abuse and torture. MoD says the allegations are unproven and a dedicated team had been set up to investigate.
PIL alleges the so-called dedicated team, Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), lacked necessary independence to carry out the inquiry. Similar powerless inquiry, Sir John Chilcot’s inquiry, was launched by the British government into the circumstances that led the UK into the war, which carried no statutory powers to prosecute and punish the people responsible for British participation in Iraq invasion.
The then Prime Minister Tony Blair appeared before the Chilcot’s inquiry commission and said, “he would have joined the war even if he had known that Iraq was not possessing “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” It was reported that a private meeting of George W Bush with Tony Blair had changed the British position on going to the war, whose administration until then was against going to the war, in general.Continued on the next page