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Britain's Hoon to Make Statement About Iraqi Prisoner Abuse - 2004-05-10


British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon will deliver a statement to parliament today (Monday) on the alleged abuse of Iraqi prisoners by British soldiers.

His statement follows comments today (Monday) by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who told reporters the government plans to release portions of a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross alleging the abuses. Mr. Blair said he has not seen the report. He also said he has no objection to the Red Cross releasing the entire document to the public.

On Sunday Mr. Blair apologized for the abuses on French television, saying they are "totally unacceptable" and vowing those responsible will be punished. He said the vast majority of British troops in Iraq have not mistreated Iraqis.

The London-based human rights group Amnesty International said it first warned the British government last May that Iraqi prisoners had been tortured and at least one had been killed while in British custody.

The British and U.S. governments also received a report on prisoner mistreatment from the International Committee of the Red Cross in February.

Britain's defense ministry says investigations into alleged abuses began last year.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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