Officer 'lied' to inquiry into Mousa's death

A former Army commanding officer was accused yesterday of lying to a public inquiry into the death of an Iraqi civilian in his soldiers' custody.

Colonel Jorge Mendonca said he saw nothing out of the ordinary when he checked on the hotel worker Baha Mousa and several of his colleagues after their arrest in Basra in 2003.

But Rabinder Singh QC, counsel for Mr Mousa's family and the Iraqis detained with him, told the inquiry the officer either witnessed a "horrific scene" in the temporary detention facility (TDF) where the Iraqis were held, or did not visit them at all.

Mr Mousa, 26, died in the custody of 1st Battalion the Queen's Lancashire Regiment (1QLR) in Basra on 15 September 2003, having suffered 93 injuries. Colonel Mendonca, the former commanding officer of 1QLR, told the inquiry in February that he visited Mr Mousa and the other men on the evening of 14 September. He said: "If I had noticed any injuries to any detainees or any of them appearing to be in any distress I would have immediately queried the situation. However, there was nothing that alerted me to any type of problem."

Mr Singh alleged that the Iraqi prisoners were beaten by soldiers in the group led by Lieutenant Craig Rodgers before Colonel Mendonca claimed to have made his visit.

Mr Singh said: "It's not just that he was in overall charge and therefore must take responsibility for what happened on his watch. But also there is reason to doubt his evidence to this inquiry. I have in mind particularly what he told you about his visiting the TDF on Sunday evening.

"And yet his evidence was that the detainees were quiet and there didn't seem to be anything worth troubling about. Now either of two conclusions may be possible. The first is that he has not told the truth about what he saw because he must have seen a horrific scene and he should have done something about it. Or perhaps he never went, and realised after the event that he should have done."

Mr Singh agreed with the inquiry's chairman, Sir William Gage, that the second possibility was more unlikely.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links