The British army officer who launched the operation that led to the alleged abuse of Iraqi civilians by British troops in southern Iraq is expected to give evidence today at the court martial of three soldiers. Major Daniel Taylor ordered troops to detain suspected thieves of a food depot near Basra in May 2003 and is said to have told the soldiers to "work them hard". Three British soldiers face charges over the lleged abuse of the detainees. Photographs depicting the abuse were published in leading newspapers on Wednesday. One of the soldiers on trial in Osnabrueck, in Germany, has pleaded guilty to one count of battery for assaulting an Iraqi prisoner, the two others have pleaded not guilty to all charges. Defense lawyers have been trying to establish the soldiers were following orders.