Doctor accused of lying to cover-up truth about Baha Mousa's death branded a 'criminal'


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The Independent Online

An army doctor accused of lying to cover-up the truth about the death of an Iraqi detainee by British soldiers has been branded a "criminal" by one of the men who survived the attack.

Dr Derek Keilloh is facing charges of misconduct before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) over the death of Baha Mousa in Basra in 2003, who was among 10 innocent civilians beaten and tortured by soldiers from the 1st Battalion Queen's Lancashire Regiment.

The doctor is accused of lying about his claims under oath that he spotted only dried blood around the nose of the hotel receptionist, despite the fact Mr Mousa had sustained 93 separate visible injuries during a 36hour attack.

Speaking through an interpreter the hotel co-owner, Ahmed Al Matairi, who waived his legal right to anonymity, accused Dr Keilloh of failing to fulfil his duty of care as a doctor.

Mr Al Matairi said he was "between life and death" when he finally taken to the medical centre, and was naked from the waist down and still handcuffed when the doctor examined him.

"He just had a look at my hernia, leg, kidney and said to them don't hit me… He is a criminal. He should not be a doctor," said Mr Matairi.

Dr Keilloh, who had only been in post as the senior army doctor for eight weeks when the attack happened, is alleged to have ignored the cries of the men being tortured close to the medical centre at the army base.

"He heard our cries and he didn't do anything… And he was not far from us for three days and he didn't do anything... he should have fulfilled his role as a doctor," said Mr Al Matairi.

In a heated exchange, Timothy Langdale QC, representing Dr Keilloh, questioned Mr Al Matairi's version of events and accused him of "exaggerating" and avoiding questions.

Mr Langdale said photographs taken of his injuries at the time did not appear to show the injuries he was describing.

Mr Al Matairi replied: "How did I exaggerate? One person died, two others were in hospital. I didn't exaggerate."

Mr Mousa, 26, was hooded, handcuffed and beaten to death at the army HQ in the southern Iraqi city. Dr Keilloh, 37, supervised a failed resuscitation attempt of the shirtless Mr Mousa.

The tribunal has already heard that a more junior doctor drew Dr Keilloh’s attention to Mr Mousa’s injures by saying: ‘Look at the state of him’. Dr Keilloh has always maintained that he did not see the victim's catalogue of injuries and denies misconduct.

Mr Al Matairi was asked by Rebecca Poulet QC, counsel for the General Medical Council, what Mr Mousa’s last words were: "Blood blood, I am going to die. My children are going to become orphans."

A subsequent public inquiry into the incident strongly criticised the "corporate failure" by the Ministry of Defence and the "lack of moral courage to report abuse" within the QLR. It named 19 soldiers who assaulted the detainees, and found that many others, including several officers, must have known what was happening.

Dr Keilloh also faces charges from the tribunal that he failed to conduct an adequate examination of Mr Mousa's body after death and failed to notify a superior officer of the circumstances of the death. He faces similar claims relating to two other detainees.

The hearing continues.