‘The Court of Appeal yesterday handed down a landmark judgment about the torture and abuse of Iraqi civilians in detention with UK Armed Forces in occupied Iraq’, Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) said.
A PIL statement added: ‘One of the test cases dealt with by the court concerned the torture to death of Baha Mousa, a hotel receptionist.
‘His eight colleagues were also tortured badly with one of them, Kifah Taha Al Mutari, tortured to the brink of death. The regiment involved is the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment.
‘The Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s ruling from December 14, 2004 that the European Convention on Human Rights and Human Rights Act (HRA) 1998 do apply to detention cases.
‘It extended the scope of jurisdiction to include cases of Iraqi civilians being deprived of their liberty generally, and then tortured. The High Court had found only that jurisdiction extended to a prison on a quasi-territorial basis.
‘This is an important extension and will mean that many cases involving death and torture in situations where Iraqis have been deprived of their liberty will now have to be the subject of independent and proper investigations.
‘Further, the government had argued that the HRA did not extend beyond the UK but the court found against the government on this point.
‘This has very important implications as otherwise violations of human rights by the actions of UK officials and agents around the world could only be remedied by cases taken to the European Court of Human Rights.
‘The Court of Appeal also lambasted the military system of investigating and prosecuting incidents of torture and unlawful killings in occupied Iraq by UK Armed Forces.’
Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers said: ‘Colonel Mousa has won his case again and there must now be an independent investigation into his son’s death.
‘Baha Mousa and the other eight civilians detained with him were tortured and abused by shifts of men and all those responsible must be charged and prosecuted.’
Mazin Younis, Chairman of the Iraqi League said: ‘These cases show that the abuse and torture of Iraqis cannot remain unpunished.
‘The UK government are responsible for the invasion of my country and the subsequent deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqis including children. UK soldiers have tortured, abused and humiliated innocent Iraqis.’
• Iraqi President Saddam Hussein yesterday told the judge at his show trial in Baghad: ‘I have been hit by the Americans and tortured. I’ve been beaten on every place of my body and the signs are all over my body.’
Pointing to his fellow defendants, he said in an emotional outburst: ‘We were beaten by the Americans and we were tortured, every one of us.’
The Iraqi chief prosecutor immediately suggested that, if this were the case, he would ask US forces to hand over the defendants to the puppet Iraqi authorities.
Saddam added: ‘Our enemy is not the American people. Our enemy is the American government which is destroying Iraq.’
He described insurgents as ‘brave men’ who are doing ‘good work’.