Iraqi death probe ‘to clear UK army of systematic abuse’

LONDON, August 28, 2011 (AFP) – An independent inquiry into the death of an Iraqi prisoner in British custody in Iraq will clear the army of systematic torture but individual soldiers will be strongly criticised, a report said Sunday. The British probe has been investigating the death of hotel receptionist Baha Mousa, who died two days after his arrest in September, 2003, in a raid by British forces on suspected insurgents in Basra, southern Iraq.

A post-mortem examination found he had numerous injuries on his body and suffered asphyxiation.

The inquiry, which will publish its findings on September 8, has found no evidence British soldiers were involved in systematic torture and murder of suspected insurgents in southern Iraq, Britain’s Sunday Telegraph paper reported.

But the weekly, citing an unnamed senior army officer, said the conduct of serving and former soldiers would be strongly criticised as well as numerous failures by the chain of command.

The inquiry, led by retired judge William Gage, will accuse former members of the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, which detained Mousa, of “closing ranks” and senior officers and serving soldiers of a dereliction of duty, said the report.

“The inquiry has fo