Soldiers sent home amid PoW abuse inquiry

Second probe into deaths of Iraqi civilians while in British custody
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Two soldiers have been moved out of the Gulf following the latest allegations of mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners involving the British Army.

The men were sent back to barracks, which are believed to be in Germany. This is the fourth investigation to be launched into British soldiers following the Iraq conflict.

It's claimed that a prisoner's face was punched by a British soldier, resulting in a black eye. A MoD spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that an alleged incident has been reported involving the beating of Iraqi PoWs. Two soldiers have been returned to barracks pending an investigation

"We would take a very dim view of poor treatment of PoWs and if the case is found to be answered, we will act accordingly."

The allegation emerged as a separate investigation was launched into the deaths of two Iraqi civilians imprisoned at Basra detention centre last month. Soldiers from Black Watch regiment have been questioned and the Ministry of Defence has called in the military police's special investigation branch.

These latest investigations come days after Gary Bartlam, 18, from Warwickshire, who is with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was questioned about photographs showing the alleged torture of prisoners of war which he had handed in to be processed.

The developers in Staffordshire called police after they became concerned about a number of pictures on a roll of film that had been handed in to their shop.

One of the images allegedly showed an Iraqi PoW gagged and bound, hanging in netting from a forklift truck driven by a British soldier. Others show Iraqis being forced to simulate sex acts with British troops or each other.

Meanwhile, Colonel Tim Collins, who commanded the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment in Iraq, is being investigated by military police after allegations of ill-treatment. Colonel Collins denies any wrongdoing.