Soldiers 'must face prosecution'
Thursday 08 September 2011
The British soldiers responsible for the death of Baha Mousa must face prosecution in the light of the damning public inquiry findings, lawyers for his family said.
Inquiry chairman Sir William Gage's report names 19 members of UK forces, including three non-commissioned officers, who carried out assaults on Mr Mousa and nine other Iraqis held with him.
Seven soldiers faced allegations relating to the mistreatment of the detainees at a court martial in 2006-07, but only one was found guilty.
Sapna Malik, from law firm Leigh Day and Co, told a press conference in central London: "In light of the cogent and serious findings by Sir William Gage, we now expect that the military and civilian prosecuting authorities of this country will act to ensure that justice is done."
Phil Shiner, from Public Interest Lawyers, added that it was an "absolute imperative" that prosecutions in a civilian court are brought.
He strongly criticised the Ministry of Defence for resisting the inquiry into the Iraqi abuse scandal.
"The MoD are a disgraceful outfit. Whether one is a British soldier or an innocent Iraqi civilian, they just don't care and they're proud not to care," he said.
Mr Shiner revealed that a senior Army medical officer criticised in the report is facing a 30-day General Medical Council (GMC) disciplinary hearing next year.
Dr Derek Keilloh, regimental medical officer for 1st Battalion the Queen's Lancashire Regiment (1QLR), examined Mr Mousa after his death but claimed he saw no injuries on his body.
Sir William said: "It is difficult to accept that when attempting to resuscitate Baha Mousa, Keilloh did not see signs of mistreatment to his body."
The inquiry chairman said the doctor committed a "serious failing" in not going to the detention centre where the Iraqi prisoners were being held after Mr Mousa's death.
The GMC said it did not confirm whether doctors are facing disciplinary proceedings until shortly before they are due to take place.
Dr Keilloh is currently fully registered with a licence to practise medicine.
Mr Shiner also said that 1QLR's Catholic padre, Father Peter Madden, was being investigated by "the appropriate church authorities" over his involvement in the case.
Sir William found that the chaplain visited the detention centre on the day that Mr Mousa died and must have been aware of the abuse being inflicted on the detainees.
Mr Shiner renewed his calls for a wider-ranging public inquiry into how British troops treated detainees during the 2003-2009 Iraq War.
The Court of Appeal is due to announce its judgment next month in a legal bid to force the Government to launch such an inquiry.
The action was brought by Public Interest Lawyers on behalf of more than 100 Iraqi civilians who claim they were mistreated by British forces.
Mr Shiner said: "A single inquiry now into the UK's detention policy in Iraq is an absolute imperative.
"We all need to know what went wrong, and why, so that we can be assured such appalling actions can never be repeated in our name in the future."
Mr Mousa's father, Daoud Mousa, who has fought for justice for his son, was not in Britain for the publication of the inquiry's report.
But he plans to travel to London next week to introduce a memorial lecture in his son's name.
Barry Hudd, a spokesman for the Bishopric of the Forces, said he was "99.9% certain" Fr Madden was not under investigation.
He said it sounded like "there had been a misunderstanding somewhere along the line".
Fr Madden has left his military duties and now works as a priest in Birmingham.
He is currently away on holiday, said Peter Jennings, press secretary for the Archbishop of Birmingham and Archdiocese.
He said: "The holiday was booked some time ago.
"He has come under very severe criticism and will no doubt want to spend time studying the report in context."
He added that Archbishop Bernard Longley would meet the priest when he returns.
"The Catholic Church takes this matter extremely seriously," he added.
Mr Jennings said he was not aware of any investigation of Fr Madden.
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