The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has paid millions of pounds in compensation to Iraqis who claimed to have been illegally detained and tortured by British forces during the Iraq War, it has been revealed.
A total of £14m has been paid out to 205 Iraqis who have made successful claims in the past three years, according to reports last night, leading to accusations by rights groups that abuse of detainees during British involvement in the country was systematic.
The claims have been brought by former prisoners of the British military in Iraq, most of whom were detained on suspicion of involvement in the insurgency against US and UK troops in the country. Many of them say they were beaten and deprived of sleep before being interrogated by British soldiers.
The MoD said it was negotiating payouts to a further 196 individuals, The Guardian reported, adding that lawyers representing former prisoners of the British military said that a further 700 Iraqis are likely to make claims next year.
Commenting on the compensation payments, a spokesman for the MoD said: “Over 120,000 British troops have served in Iraq and the vast majority have conducted themselves with the highest standards of integrity and professionalism. All allegations of abuse will always be investigated thoroughly. We will compensate victims of abuse where it is right to do so and seek to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.”
Lutz Oette, legal counsel at Redress, an NGO which works with torture survivors, told the newspaper: “Looking at the number of claimants and scale of payments, there clearly seems to be a systemic problem. It is high time for this to be fully accounted for.”
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