Iraq Says British Raid On Basra Police Office Violated Its Sovereignty

Friday, April 6th 2007, 10:34 pm
By: News On 6

BAGHDAD (AP) _ A British-led raid on a police intelligence headquarters in southern Iraq last month violated Iraq's sovereignty as well as a U.N. Security Council resolution, the government said on Friday.

On March 4, British forces raided the National Iraqi Intelligence Agency building in the southern city of Basra and said they had captured an alleged death squad leader and found 30 prisoners with signs of torture. The rest of the prisoners in the facility fled during the raid, but Britain said that was unintentional.

The report on an investigation into the raid said the commander of the U.S.-led Multi-National Forces in Iraq should ``officially apologize to the Iraqi people, the residents of Basra and the Interior Ministry.''

It also said coalition forces should ``acknowledge that members of the Multi-National Forces have overstepped their authority, committed a major mistake and were negligent in allowing prisoners to escape.''

The report, signed by Minister of State for Parliament Affairs and acting Justice Minister Safa al-Safi, said coalition forces should not take prisoners already in Iraqi custody without first getting a warrant from judicial authorities.

It did not mention that some of the detainees showed signs of torture.

At the time, Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki vowed to punish ``those who carried out this illegal and irresponsible act.''

The investigation said that by detaining the suspect, multinational forces ``violated the orders of an Iraqi judge, blatantly surpassed its authority and infringed on Iraq's sovereignty in contradiction with Security Council resolution 1546.''

The resolution assures Iraq will have full sovereignty and that all foreign troops eventually will leave the country.

Britain has 7,100 troops in Iraq, mostly based around Basra.