MoD inquiry launched into Gulf pow deaths

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THE Ministry of Defence was today investigating the deaths of Iraqi prisoners of war while in the custody of soldiers from the Perthshire-based Black Watch regiment.

The men are understood to have died on two different days in the middle of May.

At this stage, there is believed to be no evidence or suggestion that the men were mistreated.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence said: "There is an investigation by the Special Investigation Branch. Any death in custody is looked into as a matter of course."

In a separate incident, two British soldiers have been ordered out of Iraq after the alleged beating of Iraqi prisoners of war.

The men, understood to be from the Royal Fusiliers, were thought to have been flown to their barracks in Germany.

It is understood the allegations involve a prisoner being punched in the face and given a black eye.

The MoD spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that an alleged incident has been reported involving the beating of Iraqi PoWs. Two soldiers have been returned to barracks pending an investigation.

"We would take a very dim view of poor treatment of prisoners of wars and if the case is found to be answerable, we will act accordingly."

The allegations emerged just days after military police questioned an 18-year-old British soldier in custody over photographs which allegedly showed troops "torturing" Iraqi PoWs.

Shocked photograph developers at a shop in Tamworth, Staffordshire, called police after they became concerned about a number of pictures on a roll of film that had been handed in to their shop for processing.

One of the images allegedly showed an Iraqi PoW gagged and bound, hanging in netting from a forklift truck driven by a British soldier.

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