LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said it was investigating new allegations of abuse by its soldiers in Iraq on Sunday after a newspaper released what it described as videos showing soldiers savagely beating Iraqi teenagers.
“We are aware of these very serious allegations and can confirm they are now the subject of an urgent Royal Military Police investigation,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
“We condemn all acts of abuse and brutality and always treat any allegations of wrongdoing extremely seriously.”
The video, released by the News of the World, was apparently filmed by one soldier and showed his comrades beating prone Iraqis with batons and kicking them while they lie on the ground.
The cameraman is said to be heard laughing and saying: “Oh yes! Oh Yes! You’re gonna get it. Yes, naughty little boys. You little f******, you little f******. Die. Ha Ha.”
The paper said the video was apparently filmed in early 2004 during a time of street riots in southern Iraq, where British troops are stationed.
British troops have been hit by abuse allegations in the past, though none approaching the scale of the abuse perpetrated by Americans against prisoners at Abu Ghraib jail in a scandal that shocked the world in 2004.
Three British soldiers were jailed last year in a case brought after the publication of pictures taken in 2003 that showed Iraqi prisoners being beaten, stomped on and forced to pose in sexually humiliating positions.
But another set of photos, which appeared in the Mirror newspaper, proved to be a hoax.