British-trained police in Iraq 'killed prisoners with drills'
By Francis Elliott, Raymond Whitaker and Kim Sengupta
Published: 20 November 2005
British-trained police operating in Basra have tortured at least two civilians to death with electric drills, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.
John Reid, the Secretary of State for Defence, admits that he knows of "alleged deaths in custody" and other "serious prisoner abuse" at al-Jamiyat police station, which was reopened by Britain after the war.
Militia-dominated police, who were recruited by Britain, are believed to have tortured at least two men to death in the station. Their bodies were later found with drill holes to their arms, legs and skulls.
The victims were suspected of collaborating with coalition forces, according to intelligence reports. Despite being pressed "very hard" by Britain, however, the Iraqi authorities in Basra are failing to even investigate incidents of torture and murder by police, ministers admit.
The disclosure drags Britain firmly into the growing scandal of officially condoned killings, torture and disappearances in Iraq. More than 170 starving and tortured prisoners were discovered last week in an Interior Ministry bunker in Baghdad.
American troops who uncovered the secret torture chamber are also said to have discovered mutilated corpses, several bearing drill marks.
Did we really just lose 2100 lives, and spend a quarter of a trillion dollars to replace Saddam's torturers with Shiite driller killers?