Baha Mousa Inquiry report out shortly - 'British Army cleared of systematic abuse'

The Chairman of the Baha Mousa Inquiry has announced that he intends to publish his report on 8 September 2011. The Sunday Telegraph says that the three-year inquiry into how Mr Baha Mousa died while in British custody in Iraq "will clear the Army of operating a systematic regime of torture". There is no room for complacency, because according to the newspaper, the inquiry will instead criticise individual soldiers and failings in the chain of command which led to his mistreatment:

The 26-year-old hotel receptionist died two days after his arrest in September 2003 in a raid on suspected insurgents by members of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment.

A post-morterm examination found he suffered asphyxiation and at least 93 injuries to his body, including fractured ribs and a broken nose.

The inquiry, whose findings will be published in just over a week's time, was ordered in 2008 by then Defence Secretary Des Browne after the most expensive court martial in military history ended with the acquittal of six soldiers and just one guilty verdict, after one of the accused pled guilty to war crimes.

The inquiry chaired by retired Appeal Court judge Sir William Gage is the biggest examination of military conduct in the aftermath of the Iraq invasion.

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

Instead it will strongly criticise serving and former soldiers for their conduct and describe "numerous failures" of the chain of command.

The inquiry will also strongly criticise the nature of the original investigation into how Mr Mousa died.

But next month's report will not end legal action over British Army conduct in Iraq.

Human rights lawyers, who represent up to 40 Iraqis who claim to have been tortured as well as the family of Baha Mousa, are expected to call for a full public inquiry and may bring legal action in an attempt to force one. ...

British Army

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