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Britain's Brown Says Iraq Allegations Very Serious

(RFE/RL) 12 February 2006 --  British Chancellor Gordon Brown said today any British soldiers found to have abused Iraqi civilians will be put on  trial, in order to safeguard the reputation of the British army.

Brown told the BBC that such behaviour is unacceptable. His comments come after the Defense Ministry opened an investigation into a videotape allegedly showing British troops abusing Iraqi civilians.

A senior British officer, Brigardier Martin Rutledge, stressed the gravity of the situation.

"Images in this video amount to very serious allegations," he said. "They're extremely disturbing and are the subject of an urgent royal military police investigation. We always initiate a service police investigation where there are any grounds to suspect that a criminal or serious act of wrongdoing has or might have been committed. This fulfils our obligation to uphold the rule of law. We condemn all acts of abuse and always treat any allegations of wrongdoing extremely seriously."

Press reports today say the tape was filmed in southern Iraq two years ago.

(AP, AFP, Reuters)