The inquiry into the death of Baha Mousa is due to report by the end of the year. It will detail how Mousa died in Iraq in September 2003, allegedly brutalised by British soldiers in a “free for all”; and how it was that he and nine other men in the same incident were allegedly hooded, forced into painful stress positions, and deprived of sleep, food and water.
The Guardian article this week, which reported that many more civilians died in army custody than previously thought, should shock the conscience of the nation. The evidence of Lieutenant Colonel Mercer to the inquiry reveals that as early as May 2003 – four months before Mousa’s death – there were “a number of deaths in custody” with “various units”. It appears there were, by then, at least nine deaths. The Ministry of Defence refuses to answer questions from us or the Guardian as to where, how or why these Iraqis died, and refuses to confirm or deny whether any of these deaths were ever investigated and if so with what outcome.