New claims that British troops have been involved in brutality, torture and rape in Iraq have been made to the defence ministry in London.
It says it is investigating 33 new cases brought to its attention by lawyer Phil Shiner, who has been acting for Iraqi detainees.
The alleged abuses all took place after 2003, and include for the first time accusations against female soldiers that they aided in the physical and sexual abuse of detainees.
“As the prime minister rightly says these are not to be taken as facts, they are allegations but it needs to be tested before a judge in public so we know once and for all what it is we need to change so that we can make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” said Shiner.
What could develop into Britain’s Abu Ghraib will be taken seriously promises Prime Minister Gordon Brown, but his armed forces minister warned against making premature judgements, and said not all the cases were new.
One claim involves a 16 year-old boy who says he was raped by soldiers while in custody; another relates how soldiers supposedly piled prisoners on top of each other and subjected them to electric shocks.