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Photos of 'tortured' Iraqi's corpse released
Photographs showing the severe beating suffered by an Iraqi civilian who died in British custody were released today as the House of Lords begins a hearing into whether human rights law should apply to British forces abroad.
Daoud Mousa begins to weep as he displays photographs of his son Baha
The pictures of 26-year-old Baha Mousa were unveiled by his lawyer and human rights group Liberty, who are calling for an "independent, effective investigation into the big systemic issues" raised by the case.
Baha Mousa's case is one of six test cases being examined by the Law Lords, along with five Iraqis who died at the hands of British soldiers in the streets of Basra.
Mr Mousa's father Daoud Mousa could not get a visa to attend the hearing but said in a statement: "When I saw the corpse I burst into tears and I still cannot bear to think about what I saw.
"I was horrified to see that my son had been severely beaten and his body was literally covered in blood and bruises."
Phil Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, showed pictures and medical evidence relating to Mr Mousa, who died in 2003, and other men beaten in custody. Photographs and records showed 93 injuries, including a fractured nose and four broken ribs, severe injuries to his wrists and a ligature around his neck.
Mr Shiner said: "We're not just talking about nuanced degrading treatment. This is torture by any definition of that word.
"And we're not just talking about torture, we're talking about the banned techniques ... such as hooding, sleep deprivation, stressing, food deprivation and white noise."
A recent court martial cleared Cpl Donald Payne, of 2 Bn The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, of Mr Mousa'a manslaughter and convicted him only of inhumane treatment. Other officers and soldiers were cleared of all charges relating to the incident. Mr Shiner described the case as "a shambles, a farce and a travesty".
The House of Lords hearing will examine whether the Human Rights Act applies in situations such as Mr Mousa's or situations where people are killed during British patrols in Iraq. If so, the Law Lords will then rule on whether there has been a breach of the obligation to hold an independent effective inquiry into those cases.
Mr Shiner and Liberty are calling for an independent inquiry. "This is not about holding the military to higher standards than they should be subject to anywhere, it's about accountability," said Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti.
"This is about holding Government and the highest level of military to the highest accountability in a democracy."
MP Diane Abbott, who was at today's press conference in Westminster, central London, added: "MPs of all sides believe the best protection for our soldiers is the acknowledgement that we treat people according to the best human rights standards."