Lawyers for 222 Iraqi civilians are suing the U.K. government, claiming their clients were subjected to a regime of systematic abuse by British soldiers and interrogatorsand that their only realistic remedy is a far-reaching public investigation into how the U.K. treated its captives in Iraq. Phil Shiner, the chief of the human rights firm Public Interest Lawyers, catalogued abuses for reporters outside Britain's High Court: Enforced nakedness, sleep deprivation, death threats, mock executions and more. Inside the court, lawyer Michael Fordham asked the judges whether the allegations, which he described as serious and credible, amounted to "Britain's Abu Ghraib." The British government has already held one inquiry into specific allegations of detainee abuse and a second one is due to begin holding hearings next year. But Mr. Shiner said the two inquiries only cover a fraction of the cases, and that examining the allegations piecemeal would mean that many cases would never see the light of day. At the rate things are going, Mr. Shiner said, it would take more than 100 years to hear every case. "There's just far too many cases," he said. "Hundreds of cases, thousands of allegations." The Ministry of Defence has yet to present its argument in court, but in a statement the military noted that the allegations remain unproven, and that a mixed team of military police and civilian investigators was already combing through them. The military argued that the team's work would be far more effective "than a costly public inquiry." Mr. Shiner scoffed at the idea, saying that the military police was itself implicated in the abuse. The hearing is expected to last three days.