Beatings tape brings more fall-out in Iraq
THE ruling council of Maysan province, in Southern Iraq, is to freeze ties with the British authorities over the recently released videotape of UK soldiers beating Iraqi youths during a 2004 riot there.
Maysan council chairman, Abdul-Jabar Haider, said all contacts with British civilian and military authorities would be suspended pending completion of an inquiry into the incident.
British authorities said three soldiers had been arrested in connection with the beatings.
The action by the council in Maysan followed a similar move this month by the leadership of Basra province.
The move came as John Reid, the Defence Secretary, said abuse of Iraqi civilians by British soldiers should be "put in proportion" as most troops acted within the law while facing unprecedented scrutiny.
Mr Reid will today mount a further defence of British troops' conduct in Iraq, calling for "greater understanding" of the harsh threats they face in modern combat, particularly from critics commenting from the safety of the "green benches of parliament" or their armchairs.
Mr Reid also spoke yesterday on the government's policy on Guantanamo Bay.
The more time that elapsed after 11 September, the less justification there was for the measure, but it was up to the Americans to decide, Mr Reid said.
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