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U.K. tabloid apologizes for fake abuse photos

/ Source: The Associated Press

The Daily Mirror newspaper published a front-page apology Saturday after photographs purportedly showing British forces abusing Iraqi prisoners turned out to be fake.

“Sorry.. We were hoaxed,” read the tabloid’s banner headline.

It was accompanied by an editorial that said the paper now believed the pictures were fakes.

“The evidence against them is not strong enough to convict in a court but that is not the burden of proof the Daily Mirror demands of itself,” it said. “So to you readers today we apologize for publishing pictures which we now believe were not genuine.”

The published apology followed a similar statement from the newspaper’s owner, Trinity Mirror PLC., on Friday, which also announced the resignation of editor Piers Morgan.

Morgan had staunchly defended the photos, which caused an uproar when they were published on May 1.

The government said Thursday that it had concluded the pictures, including one of a soldier allegedly urinating on a hooded prisoner, were fakes.

The pictures were also bitterly denounced by the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment — the group of soldiers implicated in the photos.

Brig. Geoff Sheldon, colonel of the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, has said the danger faced by soldiers in Iraq had increased markedly, possibly irreversibly, because of the pictures, which were circulated around the world.

“We also say sorry to the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment and our army in Iraq for publishing these pictures,” the newspaper said in Saturday’s editorial.

“The Daily Mirror printed the photographs in good faith. We absolutely believed they were what we were told they were, otherwise we would never have printed them,” it added.