An Iraqi prisoner has charged that a UK nurse sexually assaulted him when he was detained at a British military base in Iraq.
The nurse is the first British female soldier to face abuse claims by Iraqi detainees. The claims are among 33 new allegations of torture, male rape and physical mistreatment being probed by the Ministry of Defense.
Father-of-three Hussain Hashim Khinyab, 35, says that after he was arrested by British forces in April 2006, the medic had tried to have sex with him at the Shaaibah logistical camp while he was lying on a hospital bed recovering from an operation.
Mr. Khinyab, say his British lawyers, claims the nurse 'tried to have sex with him, but stopped when somebody came into the room'. She is then said to have pleaded with him not to tell the doctor in charge about the incident.
The claims have echoes of the horrific abuse suffered by Iraqi prisoners at the hands of the US military in 2004, at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison. The enduring image from the acts of cruelty was the photograph of American soldier Lynndie England dragging a naked Iraqi prisoner along the ground like a dog by a lead attached to his neck.
Mr. Khinyab, who will give his lawyers a detailed statement next month, further claims that when he was moved from solitary confinement to the camp's detention area, he saw male and female troops having sex with each other in front of him. He says this was done deliberately to humiliate Iraqi prisoners in as insult to their Muslim faith.
He alleges that one of those involved in the sexual acts at the base was a staff sergeant.
Another allegation is that an unnamed 16-year-old was raped by two British soldiers at the Shatt-al-Arab UK military camp in May 2003.
The Iraqi youth said he was taken to the base to fill sandbags. But after being invited into a room, the soldiers allegedly beat and kicked him.
When he fell to the floor, he says one of the soldiers held a blade to his neck and the second stripped him naked.
The two soldiers then raped him even though he screamed for them to stop, he claims.
The Ministry of Defence has said it is investigating all the allegations.
Lawyers acting for former Iraqi detainees are calling for a full public inquiry into the abuse claims, but the British government is stalling.
Fresh allegations of abuse by the UK military in Iraq do not warrant a new public inquiry, asserted Armed Forces Minister Bill Rammell, though he stressed claims were taken seriously and would be thoroughly investigated.
He revealed he was overseeing a special unit within the Ministry of Defence which had been set up to examine the claims. But then allegations did not mean facts.
Mr Rammell said earlier: 'Over 120,000 British troops have served in Iraq and the vast majority have conducted themselves to the highest standards of behaviour, displaying integrity and selfless commitment.
"While there have been instances when individuals have behaved badly, only a tiny number of individuals have been shown to have fallen short of our high standards."
And such would be brought to book, he seemed to hint.
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