Iraqi 'was beaten and sexually abused'

Lawyer says new claims point to 'systematic abuse' of detainees by British soldiers
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The Independent Online

British soldiers forced an Iraqi detainee to wear an orange jump suit and told him that he was to be executed at Guantanamo Bay, according to new torture allegations being investigated by the Ministry of Defence.

The 23-year-old man claims he was beaten and sexually abused by female and male soldiers and then flown to a British detention centre in southern Iraq which he believed was the infamous US naval base.

The case is one of 33 claims being investigated by the Government which raise concerns that British soldiers and interrogators may have used torture techniques developed by the Americans. Other claims made to the Ministry of Defence include rape, electrocution and sexual humiliation similar to that employed by the Americans in Abu Ghraib jail.

Adil Abba Fadhil Mohamed was a security guard employed to patrol streets of the southern Iraqi town of Amara. On 25 March 2006 he claims he was arrested by four soldiers who forced him to the ground and kicked him and beat him using rifle butts. He also alleges that he was beaten again while travelling in a British army vehicle and again in a helicopter.

On arrival at a British base in southern Iraq he says he was forced to adopt a stress position and every time he moved, he was beaten and kicked by British soldiers.

Later Mr Mohamed says he was dragged to a room where his weight and height were measured, and his saliva and fingerprints were taken. He claims he was beaten once again. He says he was feeling dizzy and could no longer stand. He was dragged to another tent, where he was abused by an Army interrogator who informed him that he would "fuck" him, his mother and his sister. Every time Mr Mohamed failed to respond he claims a female soldier punched him in the face.

Mr Mohamed was taken to another room and says he was forced to stand on a wobbly table with his handcuffs tied to a hook on the ceiling. He could only just reach the table with his toes, the table fell to one side and he was left hanging by his handcuffs, he says.

Mr Mohamed says he was taken to a room where he was asked to remove his clothes. According to his lawyer's pre-action protocol letter received by the Ministry of Defence, he says "a female soldier then approached him and pulled his penis with force. This continued for 15 minutes." All the time soldiers were laughing and taking photographs.

The soldiers allegedly told Mr Mohamed that because he was a terrorist he was to be flown to Guantanamo detention centre. When the helicopter landed, he was dragged out and forced to wear an orange suit.

"After being dragged down the corridor the hood was taken off," he says in his statement. "I was given a dark orange prisoners outfit to wear... [which] is worn by those who will be executed. I started screaming."

Mr Mohamed was then taken down a corridor to a small cell which he says "resembled a cage".

"I thought I might be in Guantanamo... but I have no idea how far it is from Iraq. I have heard if I went there I would not see anyone again."

After an hour he was forced to change into the blue detainee's outfit and taken to another helicopter. Mr Mohamed was told he would be released in eight hours. But instead He was beaten and kicked again by soldiers and after a few hours he was dragged to an aircraft, where a rifle was pointed at him. Mr Mohamed thought he was going to be executed.

A car was driven into him, which caused him to fall to the floor. He was picked up by two soldiers and put on the aircraft. On arrival, he was told that the governor of Amara had requested his release. Tessa Gregory, one of the solicitors representing the 33 former Iraq detainees, said: "These further disturbing allegations... point to the systematic abuse of Iraqi civilians by the British military. In the face of some of this compelling testimony the Government must investigate all these claims and should call an independent inquiry into the UK's detention policy and practice in Iraq."

The Ministry of Defence says that it takes all the abuse allegations seriously but that while the cases were being investigated they remained unproven.