UK doctor was 'complicit in torture' in Saddam Hussein's regime


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The Independent Online

An Iraqi doctor was "part of the machinery" of Saddam Hussein's brutal regime and was "complicit in acts of torture", a medical tribunal has found.

Mohammed Al-Byati carried out medical treatments on camp detainees in Iraq between December 1992 and March 1994, a fitness to practise panel held by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) has found.

The panel has heard evidence that the doctor visited camps and prisons and, whilst administering treatment, knew that some prisoners he treated had sustained injuries as a result of torture, and it was likely that the prisoners would be tortured again.

It also heard that as a consequence of Dr Al-Byati's involvement, he was "complicit in acts of torture".

The panel has found that all the allegations against Dr Al-Byati, 47, have been proved and will now consider whether the doctor, who has been working in the UK since January 2000, should be struck off the medical register.

Dr Al-Byati, who is suspended pending the outcome of the tribunal, appeared before the panel on Tuesday to deny the charges.

He said he had been a junior doctor and was "terrified" of what would happen to him and his family if he did not do as he was told and said he did not know the people he was treating had been tortured.

But Charles Garside QC, prosecuting on behalf of the General Medical Council (GMC) said the doctor, a Sunni Muslim, was part of a "well known family" which supported the Saddam regime.

Mr Garside said he knew that his place of work within the Al-Khadymia compound of the Iraqi Intelligence Agency was a place where "horrific atrocities were committed".

In a statement of its findings on the facts of the case, the panel said: "It has already determined that Dr Al-Byati knew that some prisoners he treated had sustained injuries as a result of torture, and that after some of his visits and treatment it was likely that they would be tortured again.

"It noted that Dr Al-Byati attended for work on a daily basis. He undertook the duties he was ordered to carry out. The access to the clinic was guarded and he was not permitted to leave without an escort.

"The Panel has already determined that some of the people being seen by Dr Al-Byati were being given treatment so that they might be tortured further.

"The Panel accepted the GMC case that this was neither Dr Al-Byati's wish nor his intention, and it accepted that he was 'part of the machinery'.

"In all the circumstances, the Panel determined that by his actions Dr Al-Byati was complicit in acts of torture."