Saturday, February 26, 2005

Torture is normal in the British army?

Human rights' lawyer Phil Shiner, representing Iraqi abuse victims, has alleged that the recent trial of British soldiers was "a show trial" and that a miscarriage of justice occurred because the court refused to accept evidence from his Iraqi clients.

The lawyer said: "This was a show trial run ... to a predetermined script based on damage limitation. It shows how the military cannot be allowed to investigate and prosecute themselves. There must be an independent investigation into what really happened. All those responsible should be prosecuted no matter how far up the chain of command."

Aqeel Jasim Mohammed, said: "I was kicked on my testicles which left a permanent damage. I am no longer able to perform the sexual act, I had to divorce my wife recently as a consequence. My lip was cut and nose broken, we were like toys in their hands."

Another victim said: "There was a female soldier wearing shorts and vest, she held an aerial in her hand. She detached a horse-driven cart and attached it to one of the detainees, she started hitting him with the aerial asking him to pull the cart."

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Joanna Bourke, professor of history at Birkbeck College, writes in the Guardian, 26 Feb 2005:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1425904,00.html

"Given our army's record of abuse and torture in Malaya, Kenya, Aden, Cyprus, and Northern Ireland (to name just a few), is it any wonder that many people might react cynically to claims that justice has been done?

"A survey carried out by the Ministry of Defence in 2002 found that more than 40% of British soldiers believed the army had a problem with bullying, sexual discrimination and harassment...

"In addition, the claims of ritual humiliation and sexual abuse at Deepcut training camp, in Surrey, are profoundly disturbing. A police report into the barracks contained more than 100 allegations of serious abuse...

" In the Falklands war of 1982, British soldiers on troop ships were shown violent pornographic films as a way of stimulating their aggression prior to battle."

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