updated 6/14/2004 1:10:23 PM ET 2004-06-14T17:10:23

Four British soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers will face courts-martial on charges of abusing prisoners in Iraq, Attorney General Lord Goldsmith said Monday.

The charges against the four unidentified soldiers include allegations of “assault, indecent assault, which apparently involves making the victims engage in sexual activity between themselves, and a military charge of prejudicing good order and military discipline,” Goldsmith said.

In a written statement to the House of Lords, Goldsmith said the alleged abuse occurred while the “civilians were being temporarily detained, but not in a prison or detention facility.”

“It involves photographic evidence developed in this country and referred to the U.K. police,” he said, adding that the case had already been referred to in the press.

No date has been set for the trial, which will be held in public.

Military police have referred three other cases to the Army Prosecuting Authority, which “are actively being considered at the moment.”

At least four other cases were likely to be referred to army prosecutors soon. A further case of the alleged unlawful killing of an Iraqi in the course of an arrest has been referred to the Crown Prosecution Service, which has asked the Metropolitan Police to investigate.

The government said last week that military police were investigating 30 cases of alleged abuse, civilian deaths and injuries in Iraq. Another 37 inquiries had been completed and no further action was being taken.

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