British troops, who were stationed in southern city of Basra during Iraq war, face fresh charges of breaching international law over alleged torture and killing of Iraqi prisoners from 2003 to 2008. The troopers should address charges such as "systemic" policy of abuse over five years in the English High Court during a three-day hearing from 29 January, the Guardian newspaper reported on Sunday. “Lawyers for 180 Iraqis who claim they are victims of abuse, or that their family members were unlawfully killed, will place a file of statements before two judges presiding over the court in London accusing British soldiers and intelligence officers of unlawful interrogation practices,” the report said. The use of "stress positions", sexual abuse, beating and religious abuse of illegally detained prisoners are among the accusations that will be unveiled in the high court.
“In some cases, the testimonies allege, the torture led to the death of the prisoner,” the British newspaper added."This is the crucial moment of decision," said Andrew Williams, a law professor at the University of Warwick, who wrote a book on the killing of Baha Mousa -- an innocent hotel worker killed while in British custody in Basra in 2003. "This is our last chance to get to the truth of what happened. This is what we demand of others, but we do not demand it of ourselves. What kind of message does that give the world about who we are?" he added. Public Interest Lawyers group also has called for a public inquiry into what is presented as “an orgy of sadism, outlawed interrogation methods and unlawful killings by soldiers and intelligence officers against Iraqi civilians and prisoners of war between 2003 and 2008.” The hearing comes just weeks after the tenth anniversary of the occupation of Iraq in 2003. Britain was the second largest contributor of troops to the Iraq war. At least 179 British troops were killed during the US-led invasion of the country. DB/MA