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Photos allege abuse of Iraqis by British troops

London newspaper: Returning soldiers provided pictures

Gen. Michael Jackson, Britain's chief of the Joint General Staff, speaks at a news conference Friday.
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CNN's Ben Wedeman reports on Iraqi outrage over photos that apparently show U.S. soldiers abusing detainees at a prison. (April 30)
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Great Britain

LONDON, England (CNN) -- London's Daily Mirror newspaper has published photographs that purportedly show British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners, including one picture of a soldier urinating on a hooded detainee.

Prime Minister Tony Blair condemned the pictures but defended the thousands of other British troops serving in Iraq.

The front page of Saturday's Mirror showed a man dressed in fatigues urinating on a hooded and restrained person.

A representative of the newspaper told CNN in London that the photographs were obtained from British soldiers who had returned from serving in the Persian Gulf region.

CNN cannot confirm the authenticity of the image or the identities of the people in it.

Blair said: "Let me make it quite clear that if these things have actually been done, they are completely and totally unacceptable.

"We went to Iraq to get rid of that sort of thing, not to do it. If these things have happened, they've got to be condemned utterly.

"I think in fairness, however, we should say that there are thousands of British troops in Iraq doing a very brave, extraordinary job on behalf of the Iraqi people and on behalf of our country to make the country better."

British Army commander Gen. Michael Jackson, speaking on behalf of Britain's minister of defense, said he was aware of the allegations and that the ministry has launched an investigation.

In a statement he said: "The British Army should not be judged by the reprehensible ill discipline of a few soldiers -- who by this shameful behavior have let down the tens of thousands of British soldiers."

The human rights group Amnesty International also criticized the images.

"It's important that the public knows what the British army is doing in Iraq," Amnesty spokesman Neil Dirkin said.

"It's important for Iraqis that they can trust the British army on the streets and feel that if their relatives are taken into custody, they will be at least looked after and, certainly, certainly not tortured."

A half-dozen U.S. troops also face charges stemming from similar allegations.

Photographs broadcast Wednesday on CBS' "60 Minutes II" show several prisoners in humiliating positions, some with smiling U.S. military police apparently posing beside them. (Full story)

Headlines in Saturday's Daily Mirror called the pictures "vile."

One picture shows an apparent Iraqi prisoner standing on a box with his head covered and wires attached to his hands.

President Bush said Friday that he was disgusted by the photographs.

"I share a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated," Bush said. "Their treatment does not reflect the nature of the American people. That's not the way we do things in America."

The U.S. military said six U.S. soldiers have been charged with abusing inmates at Abu Ghurayb, which was infamous under Saddam Hussein's reign.

An investigation began in January after a soldier reported the alleged abuse to superiors, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the coalition's deputy chief of operations, said this week.

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