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Iraq

Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any individuals arrested and detained by UK armed forces in Iraq and subsequently transferred to (a) US authorities and (b) Iraqi authorities may be subsequently transferred to the authority of another state, including detention in another country, without the prior written agreement of the UK. (109282)

[holding answer 18 December 2006]: No individual arrested and detained by UK forces in Iraq will be transferred to US authorities without prior written agreement governing the terms and conditions of such transfer.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the UK contingent of the Multinational Force in Iraq and the Iraqi Ministries of Justice and Interior governing the transfer of individuals detained in Iraq by UK forces contains no provisions on the possible further transfer of such persons. However, the Constitution of Iraq prevents the Government of Iraq from surrendering any Iraqi national to foreign entities and authorities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many cases of abuse, ill treatment or death of Iraqi detainees involving British troops are (a) being investigated by the Royal Military Police and (b) being considered for prosecution; (109872)

(2) how many cases involving (a) the death of and (b) the abuse of an Iraqi detainee in British custody have been dropped through lack of evidence since 2003;

(3) how many (a) officers and (b) other ranks of the Queen's Lancashire regiment and its successor are being investigated by the Royal Military Police's Special Investigation Branch.

Since the start of operations in Iraq in 2003, 41 investigations have been conducted by the Royal Military Police into the alleged abuse, ill treatment or death of Iraqi detainees. Of these, 35 cases have been closed due to insufficient evidence, two cases have been dealt with by courts-martial, one case is currently being tried by general court-martial at Bulford, one case has been dealt with summarily by the Commanding Officer and two investigations are ongoing.

Of the 35 cases closed due to insufficient evidence, 32 have been closed with no further action recommended; two cases were referred to the Army Prosecuting Authority who decided not to institute court-martial proceedings; the remaining case went to court-martial, which was stayed and then referred to the Crown Prosecuting Authority which decided not to prefer charges.

The Royal Military Police (Special Investigation Branch) is currently carrying out investigations that involve one officer and three other ranks from the Queen's Lancashire Regiment and its successor, the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment. However, none of these investigations are Iraq-related.