British soldier torture photos
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'Torture' snaps: man held
By JOHN KAY
A BRITISH soldier has been arrested over sickening “torture” photos of an Iraqi prisoner.
They show a PoW dangling from a fork-lift truck.
Others allegedly depict soldiers committing sex acts near captured Iraqis.
The squaddie — in the 1st Royal Regiment of Fusiliers — was seized after he took a roll of film to his local photo shop to be developed. Horrified lab workers called in police.
One snap showed an Iraqi PoW who was bound and gagged. He was bundled up in netting suspended from the a fork-lift driven by a British soldier.
It is believed the prisoner was alive when the pictures were taken in Southern Iraq as the war was raging.
Last night a war crimes probe was launched by the Army’s Special Investigations Branch.
If proven, the incident would be a breach of the Geneva Convention and would cause huge embarrassment to the Army and Government.
The squaddie, one of the famous Desert Rats, was arrested by civilian police at his home in Tamworth, Staffs.
His regiment is based at Celle in Germany but the Fusilier was at home on leave following the conflict.
He is being held in military custody at a secret location.
Last night a source close to the investigation said: “We are absolutely appalled by the allegations and the investigation will leave no stone unturned.
“We believe the Iraqi was alive. It must have been a terrifying experience.”
A senior military officer said: “At this stage it is not clear whether the Fusilier handed in the film on behalf of someone else or took the pictures himself. Whatever the case, it is pure dynamite.”
The Sun knows the identity of the soldier but has agreed not to publish his name at this stage.
It follows our exclusive revelation that Colonel Tim Collins, the most famous soldier of Gulf War II, is being investigated over alleged war crimes.
Father-of-five Col Collins, 43, former CO of the 1st Royal Irish Regiment, made an inspirational address to his 650 men on the eve of war.
A disgruntled US major then made an official complaint that Col Collins ill-treated Iraqi PoWs and civilians.
An investigation is continuing into those allegations. And another probe has been launched into Col Collins’ style of command of the regiment.
Senior military sources have disclosed that so far no evidence has been uncovered of any war crimes committed by Col Collins.
And last night they stressed that the probe into the horror pictures is NOT connected with the Collins inquiry.
Major General Ken Perkins, The Sun’s military adviser, said: “The 1st battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers were once part of my command.
“They are a fine regiment and I am appalled to learn that they have become embroiled in allegations of ill-treating prisoners of war.
“We don’t expect soldiers to be saints. Out of 800 men on active service in a battalion, there will always be some who break the rules.
“There may be others who take the law into their own hands to punish prisoners, who may well deserve it. But ill-treatment of prisoners can never be tolerated. It all comes down to discipline. Activities of this nature ought not to have gone unnoticed. It should not have taken a set of photos to bring it to light. The junior officer commanding the platoon or his NCOs should have picked it up.
“If they were aware of it and took no action, they are seriously at fault. If any ill treatment went on without them discovering it, they were not doing their job properly.
“The guilty men may or may not be Fusiliers. The investigation will point the finger and the accused must be court-martialled and, if found guilty, dishonourably discharged from the Army.”
The Fusiliers formed part of the 7th Armoured Brigade, the legendary Desert Rats, under the command of Brigadier Graham Binns.
Other units in the Desert Rats included the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, the Black Watch, the Light Infantry, and the Irish Guards.
The Fusiliers were also involved in Gulf War I in 1991 — and lost nine men when American jets strafed their armoured personnel carriers.
The proud regiment traces its origins to 1685 and its colonel-in-chief is the Duke of Kent.
A senior Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: “We confirm an investigation is under way into allegations of photos depicting maltreatment of Iraqi PoWs. We cannot comment further. But if there is any truth in these allegations the MoD is appalled. We take responsibility to PoWs extremely seriously.”