UK says POWs in Iraq are civilian contractors

28 March 2003
The UK Ministry of Defence on 27 March said that two prisoners of war taken by the Iraqis and shown on Al-Jazeera television are civilian truck drivers sub-contracted by the British army to deliver food to Iraqi prisoners. They are believed to be Kenyans working through a Saudi Arabian company, whose truck became separated from the rest of the aid convoy. The Kenyan High Commission in London said it was investigating the matter. During a press briefing, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon criticised the Iraqis for 'parading' the prisoners while calling the footage of two dead British soldiers 'a flagrant and sickening breach of the Geneva Convention'. The International Committee of the Red Cross has warned both sides to respect the third Geneva Convention, which prevents prisoners being subjected to public insult and curiosity.

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