originally by: The Guardian
published: 12 September 2013
Last April marked 20 years since the murder of Stephen Lawrence. The black teenager was killed on a London street by a gang of white youths in 1993. A prosecution failed for lack of evidence, and a public inquiry concluded that there were deep-set problems of institutional racism within the Metropolitan police.
On Sunday 15 September there will be another anniversary. It will be 10 years to the day since Baha Mousa was killed by British troops in Basra. Mousa was a hotel receptionist arrested with nine other Iraqi civilians in 2003 by members of 1st Battalion, the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment. Thirty-six hours later he was dead, beaten to death after being subjected to hooding, sleep deprivation, stress positions and interrogation. Much of the treatment and that of the other detainees amounted to a war crime.
Worries that British forces had lost their moral compass and were incapable of prosecuting their own were expressed by high-ranking officers and politicians. But a court martial failed to convict anyone for Baha Mousa’s death. Only after a public inquiry completed its work seven years later were the perpetrators revealed.