British soldiers under investigation for sexual abuse in Iraq

Military police are investigating allegations that British troops in Iraq were involved in a sex assault on a 14-year- old boy, the Independent on Sunday newspaper reported. ( dpa )

According to the report, the boy was rounded up with other looters and was later made to perform oral sexual on another male detainee in a British military base named Camp Breadbasket in May 2003.

"They were enjoying humiliating and abusing us, I wished I was dead at this moment," said the now 19-year-old accuser, who added that others were also made to perform sex acts.

"If the allegations are proved, it would mark a sordid low in the behaviour of British troops in Iraq, and damage further the reputation of Britain in the Middle East," the newspaper said.

In the past week the Defence Ministry paid an estimated 3 million pounds (5.96 million dollars) to the father a detainee beaten to death while in British custody in Iraq in 2003.

The youth at the centre of the latest incident told the daily he was rounded up with a friend while trying to steal milk cartons from a food distribution centre and whipped, beaten and forced to strip naked.

"They made us sit on each other's laps," he said, going on to describe how he was forced to perform oral sex on on another detainee. Two others were forced to do the same, he said.

A Defence Ministry spokesman said the allegations would be looked into.

There have been allegations of simulated sexual abuse of Iraqis by British troops, but this is the first claim of actual sexual abuse, the newspaper said.

In one incident soldiers took photographs of prisoners suspended in nets from forklift trucks and others forced to strip naked and adopt simulated sex positions.

The photographs caused outrage when they were published, after a British soldier took them to be developed at a shop. An investigation led to four soldiers being jailed for up to two years in 2005.

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