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Flippant Hague angers peace campaigners

Warmongering Tory denies systematic abuse

Tory warmonger William Hague riled campaigners once again yesterday after insisting hundreds of Iraqis' torture and murder cases have been "dealt with already."

The Foreign Secretary sought to pooh-pooh reports that the International Criminal Court could prosecute high-ranking British army officers following the submission of an explosive new dossier.

Filed by Public Interest Lawyers, the brief recounts the allegations of more than 400 different Iraqis entailing thousands of acts of abuse at British soldiers' hands between 2003 and 2008.

The 250-page document includes reports of "hooding," burning, electric shocks, "cultural and religious humiliation," sexual assault, mock executions and threats of rape, death, and torture.

Mr Hague told Sky News that he accepted "some cases of abuse" had been perpetrated on Iraqi prisoners, with the Ministry of Defence forging around 400 out-of-court settlements to date.

But Britain's armed forces did "not commit systematic abuse."

He said: "There have been some cases of abuse that have been acknowledged and apologies and compensation have been paid appropriately but the government has always been clear and the armed forces have always been clear that they absolutely reject allegations of systematic abuse by the British armed forces."

But Stop the War Coalition convener Lindsey German accused the minister of quibbling over definitions.

"There were thousands of people kept prisoner by the occupying forces and we know of many hundreds of cases alleging people were tortured.

"We know it happened with Abu Ghraib, we know it happened with Baha Mousa. This is an an absolutely rotten thing," she said.

Ms German said it was already common knowledge that Britain's intelligence agencies had continued to collude with interrogators at secret prison camps in other countries, even when they had witnessed or heard allegations of torture.

"Even now - 70 years later - we're finding the truth about the Mau Mau and how they were tortured," she said.

"I don't think Hague can be trusted."


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