Iraqi 'died after beating by British'

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Military police are investigating the death of a young Iraqi man, who allegedly died after being beaten by British soldiers in Basra, the Ministry of Defence said last night.

The Independent on Sunday reported that, according to military and medical records, he was among eight Iraqis arrested, kicked and assaulted by British troops.

Baha Mousa, a hotel receptionist who was the son of an Iraqi police colonel, died in September, three days after he and seven colleagues were arrested and placed in military custody. His body was returned to his family covered in bruises and with his nose broken. They have refused $8,000 (£4,500) in compensation and plan to take the MoD to court.

A death certificate provided by the Army said Mr Mousa had died of "asphyxia". One of the other Iraqi detainees said Mr Mousa was tied and hooded and then repeatedly kicked and assaulted, begging all the while to have the hood removed because he could not breathe.

According to the records, one survivor suffered "acute renal failure" after "he was assaulted ... and sustained severe bruising to his upper abdomen, right side of chest, left forearms and left upper inner thigh".

Amnesty International yesterday demanded an independent investigation into the apparent torture of the prisoners in Basra. A spokeswoman said: "It is very clear from the hospital and military records that there are profound concerns over the manner in which this man died."

An spokesman for the ministry said the "thorough and comprehensive" inquiry by military police could take many months because investigators would need to get statements from soldiers who might no longer be in Iraq.

He said that they were competent to carry out such an investigation. "They have done so on various occasions and continue to do so. We are quite confident with the way they are undertaken."

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