British Soldier Arrested on POW Abuse Charges in Iraq

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A British soldier is under investigtion over allegations he tortured Iraqi prisoners, the Ministry of Defense said Friday.

Officials said the soldier was arrested by civilian police at his home in Britain but was now in army custody. They gave no other details. He reportedly had returned home to Britain on leave.

The ministry said it launched a probe into allegations reported in The Sun newspaper (search) that the soldier had a roll of camera film showing an Iraqi detainee bundled up in netting and suspended from a fork-lift truck.

The Sun newspaper also claimed the film, which the soldier had sought to develop, showed troops performing sex acts near captured Iraqis.

"We confirm an investigation is under way into allegations of photos depicting maltreatment of Iraqi PoWs," the Ministry of Defense said.

"If there is any truth in these allegations the (Ministry of Defense) is appalled," it said. "We take responsibility to PoWs extremely seriously."

The Sun said a photo laboratory contacted police after the soldier handed in the roll of film to be developed.

The Sun said the soldier was a member of the 1st battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, part of 7 Armored Brigade, the "Desert Rats (search)," which were in action in southern Iraq.

The unit is still in Iraq, but the soldier reportedly had returned to Britain on a routine leave.

Last week, defense officials said they were investigating allegations against Col. Tim Collins, commander of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Rangers (search).

Published reports said a U.S. soldier had accused Collins of punching, kicking and threatening prisoners to get information, and that he allegedly hit an Iraqi civilian official with his pistol.

Collins has denied the accusations.