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UK probes 'mistreated POW photos'

The soldier was reported to be serving in the Desert Rats, members of whom are seen here in southern Iraq.
The soldier was reported to be serving in the Desert Rats, members of whom are seen here in southern Iraq.

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- A British soldier was being questioned Friday by military police over allegations that Iraqi prisoners of war were mistreated, officials said.

Officers were alerted by a photo shop when developers became concerned about several pictures on a roll of film handed in for processing.

The Sun newspaper reported Friday that one of the images, which it did not publish, showed an Iraqi POW gagged and bound, hanging in netting from a fork-lift truck driven by a British soldier. Other snapshots allegedly depict soldiers committing sex acts near captured Iraqis.

The UK Ministry of Defense told CNN that a soldier was being questioned by military police in Britain but that he was not in custody.

A spokesman said if there was truth in the allegations the ministry "would be appalled ... we take responsibility to POWs extremely seriously."

If the allegations were found to be true, the soldiers involved would be guilty of breaching the Geneva Convention ruling that POWs must be treated humanely "with respect to their person and their honor."

The Sun said the unidentified soldier was serving in the 1st battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers -- part of the Desert Rats -- in southern Iraq at the time of the alleged events. The defense ministry would not confirm or deny this.

The paper said the soldier was arrested at his home in Tamworth, in the central English county of Staffordshire, where he was on leave following the war.

The inquiry is the second one launched into the conduct of British soldiers in Iraq. Last week defense sources reported that Lt. Col. Tim Collins was being investigated over allegations he possibly breached the Geneva Convention in his treatment of Iraqis.

British newspapers said Collins was accused of punching, kicking and threatening Iraqi prisoners of war and pistol-whipping an Iraqi civic leader. He denies any wrongdoing. (War crimes probe)

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