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Public Inquiry commences into death and torture of Iraqi civilians

Leigh Day & Co and PIL represent Baha Mousa's family and other Iraqis in this inquiry

Photo: istock

15 October 2008

On 15 October 2008 the Honourable Lord Justice Gage will formally commence the Inquiry into the torture and death of Baha Mousa, and the torture of another nine Iraqis whilst in detention with UK soldiers in September 2003.

The torture involved in this case went far beyond abuse and beatings and included the use of the “5 Techniques” banned by the Heath Government in 1972: hooding, stressing, sleep deprivation, food and water deprivation and noise. However it is already clear from the evidence of senior military figures at the court martial into Mousa’s death that all battle groups were using these techniques, that interrogators were trained to do so, and that these five techniques were themselves part of a systematic approach to “breaking down” detainees. The Inquiry intends to address the development and use of these techniques, and to establish how far up the chain of command they were authorised for use in Iraq.

The Inquiry is likely to last for at least 18 months. The family of Baha Mousa, and the other 10 victims are represented by both Leigh Day & Co and Public Interest Lawyers. Leigh Day & Co. acted for Baha Mousa’s father and the other torture survivors in their damages claims against the Ministry of Defence, which were successfully mediated this summer,before former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf. Public Interest Lawyers were responsible for the House of Lords case in June 2007 that established that the Human Rights Act 1998 (and the European Convention on Human Rights) did apply in a detention case such as this and that public inquiry should be held in this case.

The family of Baha Mousa, and the other survivors, want accountability for all that took place, to include establishing which soldiers perpetrated the abuse (and, therefore, should be prosecuted) and, who authorised the techniques referred to above.

Baha Mousa’s father, Colonel Daoud Mousa said today:

“This Inquiry can never bring back the life of my son but it can at least enable us to understand what brought about his death. There is not a day that goes by when I do not grieve for him”.

Sapna Malik, partner of Leigh Day & Co. acting for the victims said today:

“The Inquiry is of fundamental importance not just to our clients but also to the British people. We all need to know how this terrible sequence of events was allowed to happen and to ensure that procedures are in place which mean they can never happen again”.

Phil Shiner, the solicitor in charge at Public Interest Lawyers said today:

“Baha Mousa’s name should be synonymous with everything that was wrong about the UK’s detention policy in Iraq. There are, unfortunately, many other Mousas, and apparently hundreds of cases of Iraqis being subjected to psychological torture in detention with UK troops”.

For further information please contact Sapna Malik on 020 7650 1222 or 07753 740 859.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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