Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Army 'cleared of wholesale abuse'

Daoud Mousa, the father of Baha Mousa, who attended a public inquiry into his son's death

An independent report into how a hotel worker died while being held in British custody in Iraq will clear the Army of systematic torture and mistreatment, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

But the document will criticise the conduct of individual soldiers and highlight "numerous failures" in the Army's chain of command, the newspaper says.

The official findings of the three-year inquiry into the brutal death of Iraqi civilian Baha Mousa and the abuse of nine other Iraqi men detained with him are expected to be released on September 8.

Father-of-two Mr Mousa, 26, sustained 93 injuries while being held by 1st Battalion the Queen's Lancashire Regiment (1QLR) in Basra, southern Iraq, in 2003.

The judge-led inquiry, chaired by Sir William Gage, was ordered in 2008 and became the biggest examination of military conduct in the aftermath of the Iraq invasion.

It heard oral evidence from 247 witnesses over 115 days of hearings between July 2009 and October 2010.

According to the Telegraph, the inquiry has found no evidence that British soldiers conducted wholesale abuse, torture and murder of suspected insurgents during the occupation of southern Iraq.

However, it will accuse former members of 1QLR of "closing ranks" and both senior officers and serving soldiers of a dereliction of duty.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "More than 100,000 Service personnel served in Iraq and the vast majority conducted themselves with extraordinary courage, professionalism and decency in very demanding circumstances.

"Nonetheless we acknowledge that the actions that led to the death of Baha Mousa were shameful and inexcusable."

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