Baha Mousa inquiry accuses British military of gratuitous violence

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published: 8th September 2011

Baha Mousa, a 26-year old hotel worker in Basra, Iraq, died eight years ago following an “appalling episode of serious gratuitous violence” carried out by British soldiers in “a very serious breach of discipline,” a public inquiry has concluded. In a damning 1,400-page report published this morning, retired judge William Gage also condemned the “corporate failure” at the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence.

He believes the lack of any official doctrine on interrogation led to the use of banned methods—including covering detainees with hoods and forcing them to assume painful stress positions—and that these techniques contributed to Mousa’s death.

Members of the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment (1QLR) were deployed to Basra in June 2003, two months after the U.S. invaded Iraq.

In September the regiment launched a campaign to hunt down suspected insurgents in the city after a roadside bomb killed 1QLR officer Captain David Jones, and after gunmen mowed down three members of the Royal Military Police (RMP).

On Sep. 14, 2003, while raiding the Ibn Al Haitham Hotel where Mousa worked as a receptionist, officers found fake identity cards, military clothing and weapons. They arrested Mousa and nine other Iraqi men, incorrectly linking them to the deaths of Jones and the RMP.

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