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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 May, 2004, 22:10 GMT 23:10 UK
Blair envoy's Iraq abuse claims
Cynon Valley MP Ann Clwyd
Clwyd was one of the few left wing MPs in favour of war
Tony Blair's human rights envoy to Iraq has made fresh allegations about prisoner brutality by US troops.

Labour MP Ann Clwyd said she has been pursuing the case of an elderly Iraqi woman who alleges she was maltreated whilst in a Baghdad detention centre.

A series of photos of US troops humiliating inmates at Abu Ghraib jail were broadcast in America last week.

British military police are probing separate claims about UK troops published in the Daily Mirror.

Condemnation

Ms Clwyd says she has been pursuing the case of the Iraqi woman for months.

The MP told BBC News 24: "The case involves allegations of mistreatment, such as making her go on the floor and be told she was a donkey and a man getting on her back."

She said the woman had apparently been told in the last few days that the two people she described as her abusers were now in custody.

The vast bulk of British troops out there would also be horrified if any such incidents have taken place
Tony Blair

Ms Clwyd said she had not had that information confirmed but US generals had been "shocked" when she gave them details of the case on a visit to the White House.

The alleged abuse happened at a detention centre at Baghdad airport, she said, although that centre was under the same command as the Abu Ghraib jail at the time.

Responding to Ms Clwyd's claims, Tony Blair's spokesman said: "The prime minister and the US president have both made it clear they in no way condone - and indeed they condemn - mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners. Individual cases should be investigated and the truth established."

Her comments come on the same day as lawyers for 12 Iraqi families who claim relatives were killed by British troops in Iraq lodged papers at the High Court in a battle for compensation.

'Horrified'

In the Commons, Mr Blair used prime minister's questions to say any "human rights abuses, torture or degradation" of prisoners were "wholly unacceptable".

"That is what we went to Iraq to get rid of, not to perpetuate," he told MPs.

He added: "I want to point out ... that the vast bulk of British troops out there would also be horrified if any such incidents have taken place."

The pictures published by the Mirror apparently showed British troops beating an Iraqi detainee.

Mr Blair said it would also be "extremely serious" if the photos turned out to be fakes.

That was a message echoed by Conservative leader Michael Howard who said editor Piers Morgan would have to take "full responsibility".

New resolution?

Later, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said he did not believe British and American forces would be replaced in Iraq - except by Iraqi forces over time.

No other country had the military resources or political will to do the job, he told the Commons foreign affairs committee.

But he hoped a new United Nations Security Council resolution on Iraq could be agreed by the end of the month to endorse the handover of power to Iraqis due on 30 June.

Mr Straw told the MPs a new resolution was not legally necessary but would give the new arrangements international legitimacy.




SEE ALSO:
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04 May 04  |  Politics



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