The Guardian reports on what our Coalition partner's soldiers are doing to detainees:
An army corporal conducted what he called "the choir" by hitting and kicking Iraqi prisoners to elicit a range of groans and screams, a court martial heard yesterday. Corporal Donald Payne took pleasure in making the civilians being held at a detention centre in southern Iraq suffer and "plainly enjoyed" showing off his "choir" to visitors, it was claimed.
The court martial was shown a video of Cpl Payne hurling abuse at hooded prisoners and forcing them to maintain a stress position which has been banned in the British forces for more than 30 years.
The judge refused to allow the video to be released for fear that it could provoke revenge attacks against British troops.
Earlier this week Cpl Payne, 35, became the first British soldier to be convicted of a war crime - the inhuman treatment of Iraqi civilians being held in Basra. However, he denies killing one of the civilians, hotel receptionist Baha Mousa.
The corporal is being tried with six others at a military court at Bulford Camp in Wiltshire. Some are accused of involvement in the "systematic abuse" of detainees, while officers, including the most senior brought before a court martial in modern times, Colonel Jorge Mendonca, allegedly did nothing to stop the torment.
Julian Bevan QC, prosecuting, said Cpl Payne was a regimental police officer who was in charge of prisoners arrested after a raid on a hotel suspected of being an insurgents' base in September 2003.
Mr Bevan claimed Cpl Payne, of the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, had conducted what he called "the choir" for the "enjoyment and pleasure" of visitors. "The choir consisted of Cpl Payne systematically assaulting each of the civilians in turn by hitting them in the stomach or body causing each one to shriek or groan in pain."
Mr Bevan said the choir was conducted on a "pretty regular basis" during the 36 hours the men were held. "It is the very openness that is frankly astonishing - no effort being made to hush it up."
Mr Bevan said the video footage seized by investigators was taken by another soldier as a keepsake. It showed Cpl Payne striding around shouting abuse at prisoners who slipped from the stress position - backs to the wall, knees bent, arms stretched parallel to the floor and hands cuffed in front of them - which was outlawed in 1972.
Two of the other accused, Kingsman Darren Fallon and Lance Corporal Wayne Crowcroft, also allegedly took part in the "choir" sessions.
In November last year L/Cpl Crowcroft was in a bar in Cyprus with other soldiers and expressed concern about the court martial. He was told he had nothing to worry about if he had not done anything wrong but allegedly said: "We all kicked him to death." Mr Bevan said he must have been referring to Baha Mousa, 26, the receptionist who died.
Baha Mousa was the most troublesome of the prisoners because he was able to slip out of his handcuffs and remove his hood, the hearing was told. He was singled out for beatings and held in a toilet.
On Monday, almost 36 hours after he had been captured, Cpl Payne spotted him without his handcuffs and thought he was trying to escape. He allegedly pinned him to the floor with his knee in his back, grabbed his head and banged it against the wall.
Baha Mousa slumped against a wall and stopped breathing. Medical help was called for but he could not be saved. He was found to have suffered 93 injuries including fractured ribs and a broken nose. He had also suffered asphyxia.
Cpl Payne denies manslaughter and intending to pervert the course of justice by telling colleagues to say that Baha Mousa died after accidentally hitting his head. L/Cpl Crowcroft, 22, and Kingsman Fallon, 23, deny inhuman treatment of civilians, a war crime under the International Criminal Court Act 2001. Sergeant Kelvin Stacey, 29, denies assault causing actual bodily harm. Col Mendonca, 42, Major Michael Peebles, 35, and Warrant Officer Mark Davies, 37, deny failing to ensure the civilians were not ill-treated.
The court martial continues.
Mr Justice McKinnon banned the release of the video which shows Cpl Payne allegedly abusing prisoners on the grounds that it could fuel hostility against British troops.
The media asked for the video to be released but Julian Bevan, prosecuting, argued there was a risk that if it was shown by the media "it would fuel hostility and anger against our soldiers in Iraq".
There was also a risk that journalists and "even the prime minister" would comment on it. Last year Tony Blair condemned images shown during a court martial of abuse of Iraqi prisoners by British soldiers at another camp in Basra.
Mr Bevan said: "Any risk of prejudice from public comment, especially politicians, is not something to be welcomed." Mr Justice McKinnon has already ruled images of the soldiers' faces cannot be shown for fear they could be targeted by extremists.
Filed under: war on terror, Iraq, UK, Great Britain, war crimes, torture