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Video Shows Pak Soldiers Beating Up Taliban Suspects

A 10-minute video posted on the social networking site Facebook has revealed Pakistani soldiers in uniform bashing up Taliban suspects in the country's troubled Swat valley.The video shows Pak soldiers in military uniform beating suspects

PTI [ Updated: October 06, 2009 5:21 IST ]
video shows pak soldiers beating up taliban suspects
video shows pak soldiers beating up taliban suspects

A 10-minute video posted on the social networking site Facebook has revealed Pakistani soldiers in uniform bashing up Taliban suspects in the country's troubled Swat valley.

The video shows Pak soldiers in military uniform beating suspects as officers stand nearby giving instructions. 

It is not clear who shot the film or where. It appears to have been made recently, perhaps in the Swat valley. 

Pakistan's army has said it needs to examine the video before commenting. 

Conversations heard on the video suggest this bashing up took place recently. Pak army  recently declared they had largely cleared the Swat valley of insurgents after a sustained offensive there. 

Human rights groups have accused the Pak army of of being involved in torture and extra-judicial killings in the region. 

"This is a very serious accusation," Gen Athar Abbas, head of Pakistan army's public relations wing, told the BBC when asked about the video. "I cannot comment on the video till we have examined it. This will take some time as the army headquarters will have to be involved in the process." 

The footage shows an officer in Pakistani army battle uniform interrogating several suspects, some of whom are quite elderly and are presumably relatives of men being sought. 

When the officer does not receive satisfactory answers, he motions with his head and soldiers rush in to punish the suspect. 

They then beat him with belts, fists and what appear to be small whips. He is also kicked all over the body by soldiers wearing heavy army boots. 

The suspect is heard screaming and imploring the soldiers to stop in the name of Allah, repeatedly saying he has told them all he knows. 

In the video the soldiers administering the beating have to be restrained by the officer on at least two occasions. 

After an initial round of punishment, the officer tells a suspect that this is "soft treatment". Unless the suspect tells all, the officer says he will have to administer "hard punishment". "You don't want me to cut off your hands and feet," the officer says. 

If confirmed, this would be the first clear proof of the Pakistani army being involved in the abuse of detainees. 

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and other groups have accused the army of such violations during the recent Swat campaign. 

The HRCP says it has also found evidence that the army is involved in extra-judicial killings in the region.

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