The British Defense Secretary has reportedly barred soldiers – targeted by an inquiry into alleged war crimes during the Iraq War – from speaking out about the investigators’ tactics before a parliamentary committee. The inquiry has been criticized for its heavy-handed methods.

Three soldiers who are being investigated by the government-run Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) have been barred from speaking to the Parliament’s defense select committee, according to a letter from British Defense  Secretary Michael Fallon seen by the Sunday Times.

The soldiers reportedly volunteered to tell MPs about actions by the IHAT investigators and present evidence of how the probe “destroyed the careers and shattered the mental health of some soldiers,” the newspaper’s report said.

One soldier was also willing to accuse the MoD of “leaving them to rot” and providing “zero support” to soldiers and veterans under IHAT investigation.

Another senior officer who wanted to speak out on the same issue was reportedly stopped by the Defense Ministry, according to the Sunday Times. “I have been gagged by the SoS [secretary of state] from giving evidence to the committee,” one of the soldiers wrote in an email to the Tory MP Johnny Mercer.

The day prior to the meeting with MPs, the soldiers were notified that they had been blocked from appearing before the select committee.

Much as I recognize the importance of the matter, I am unable to grant permission for these three serving personnel to provide evidence in the manner you have outlined,” Fallon said in a letter to Julian Lewis, the chairman of the committee, cited by the daily.

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