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British soldiers sexually abused us, claim Iraqis

Disturbing graphic allegations of sexual and physical abuse of Iraqi civilians by British soldiers are among 33 new torture cases being investigated by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The fresh claims include allegations that female and male soldiers sexually abused and humiliated detainees in camps in southern Iraq, prompting comparisons with the torture practices employed by US soldiers at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.

In one case, British soldiers are accused of piling Iraqi prisoners on top of each other and subjecting them to electric shocks, an echo of the abuse at the notorious US detention centre that came to light in 2004.

Lawyers and human rights groups warned yesterday that the British Army may face hundreds of claims of sexual and physical abuse after it was revealed the MoD was investigating the 33 cases. Phil Shiner, the lawyer representing all the former detainees, is asking for a judicial review of the cases and a wider public inquiry. "I have it on good authority that there are hundreds of cases that are going uninvestigated. My guess is that many of them will remain buried."

The 33 new cases include allegations of controversial techniques widely used by the Americans, including mock executions, dog attacks and exposure to pornography.

Hussain Hashim Khinyab, 35, a father-of-three, was arrested in April 2006. He claims he was badly tortured at the British camp at Shaibah and later sexually abused by female personnel.

He alleges he saw male and female soldiers engaging in sexual intercourse in front of the prisoners in order to deliberately humiliate them.

Iraqi human rights campaigner Mazin Younis who compiled the allegations, said many alleged victims waited years before coming forward because they were afraid of what would happen if they complained.

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