Monday, September 26, 2016

British army hero wins £5,000 compensation 'after her breasts were exposed in wrongful arrest by officers probing alleged abuses by UK troops in Iraq'

An ex-Army officer has won £5,000 compensation after her breasts were allegedly exposed in a wrongful arrest by officers investigating historical abuses by UK troops.

Rachel Webster, once praised by former prime minister Tony Blair for her efforts in Iraq, was left 'shocked' by the rough way she was restrained in her own home.

She branded her treatment as 'tantamount to being kidnapped by the state' and felt 'humiliated' by the ordeal.

The 48-year-old also claimed she was later denied access to the toilet when she became unwell, according to Claire Newell and Ben Farmer at the Daily Telegraph.

Ms Webster's payout is understood to be the first time the Ministry of Defence has offered compensation to serving or former personnel affected by its inquiries into alleged abuses.

Dating back more than a decade, the investigations have proved controversial and details of this case will only serve to raise more questions about the conduct of the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT).

MP Johnny Mercer, a former soldier, told the Telegraph: 'The whole thing is a disgrace. I am ashamed that the Government and MoD is continuing to treat soldiers who have served this country in this manner.'

Ms Webster was initially contacted by IHAT officers in October 2013. She was asked to give a witness statement about the activities of a former colleague but declined.

Three months later she was arrested following a dawn raid on her home on suspicion of misconduct in a public office. After being detained for hours of questioning she was released without charge.

Ms Webster, originally from Brigg in north Lincolnshire, served in the Army for 24 years. She joined in 1989 and rose to the rank of Captain.

In 1999, while a corporal serving in central Kosovo, she was given an award for her role in maintaining law and order and shutting down an illegal police station.

Four years later, while serving in Iraq, Sgt Webster met Tony Blair when he visited Basra soon after the invasion. She left the Army in 2013 and now works in finance.

Ms Webster said in a statement: 'Since my arrest I have waited over two years to clear my name.  'It's finally over and I can move on. Justice does prevail but at what cost!'

The MoD denies Ms Webster was prevented from using a toilet but a spokeswoman said: 'A compensation claim made following an arrest in 2014 has been settled.

'When claims are received they are considered on the basis of whether or not the MOD has a legal liability to pay. Where there is a proven legal liability, compensation is paid.'

Original report here

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