Army doctor denies covering up death of Baha Mousa who died after being beaten by British soldiers


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The Independent Online

An army doctor has denied covering up the death of Iraqi detainee Baha Mousa who died after being severely beaten and abused by British soldiers.

Dr Derek Keilloh could be struck off the medical register if found guilty of misconduct and dishonesty relating to the care of Mr Mousa and other innocent civilians who were subjected to “serious and gratuitous violence” by British soldiers in September 2003.  Mr Mousa sustained 93 different external injuries including “multiple bruises and grazes situated on the head, neck and torso and the upper and lower limbs,” according to the public inquiry into his death published last year.

Dr Keilloh is alleged to have lied under oath to the public inquiry about the extent of visible injuries he observed. Dr Keilloh maintains that he only noticed some dry blood around Mousa’s nostrils, though other more junior doctors told the inquiry that they noticed and drew his attention to other visible injuries.

Dr Keilloh, who at the time was 28 and had been in post for eight weeks, denies lying to the court martial, police and the public inquiry.  He also denies failing to take steps to protect the detainees from further harm.

Dr Keilloh has admitted several charges. This includes that he should have realised two other detainees he examined, both with serious physical injuries who told him they had been beaten, could have been mistreated. He also admits failing to properly assess other detainees being held at the Basra army base after Mr Mousa died.

The £13 million public inquiry into the incident led by Sir William Gage strongly criticised the "corporate failure" by the Ministry of Defence that led to "conditioning" techniques banned by the UK in 1972, including hooding and making prisoners stand in painful stress positions, being used by soldiers in Iraq.

The report named 19 soldiers involved in the violence, and condemned the "lack of moral courage to report abuse", by many others, including several officers, who must have known what was happening. Dr Keilloh was criticised in the report over his claim that he saw no injuries on Mr Mousa's corpse.

Dr Keilloh’s misconduct hearing, which is expected to last a month, is being heard by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester – the newly formed independent arm of the General Medical Council.