MPs highlight MoD ‘discrepancies’ over interrogation techniques

Senior British army figures may have misled MPs over the use of interrogation techniques in Iraq, it has been revealed.

The joint committee on human rights has highlighted discrepancies in the evidence they received from senior military officers and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) over the interrogation techniques, which include hooding and stress positions.

The committee received assurances from Lieutenant General Brims and former armed forces minister Adam Ingram that military personnel were fully aware of the prohibition on hooding, stress positioning and sleep deprivation and that the ban on those techniques was including in training programmes.

But evidence revealed in the Aitken review into the death of – among others – Iraqi hotel receptionist Baha Mousa at the hands of British troops has cast doubt on those assurances.

Evidence presented to the court martial of Corporal Payne, the first British soldier to be found guilty of war crimes, indicates the ‘conditioning techniques’ were used by some troops in Iraq.

The court martial also discovered the use of hooding and stress positioning by the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment in 2003 was based on legal advice received from Brigade headquarters.

Furthermore, the prohibition the prohibition on the techniques was not clearly articulated to troops in Iraq or other service personnel other than interrogators.

“We have yet to receive an explanation from the MoD for the discrepancies in evidence given to the committee by Mr Ingram in 2004 and Lieutenant General Brims in 2006 on the use of these illegal conditioning techniques,” said committee chair Andrew Dismore.

“The issues relating to Baha Mousa’s death are now the subject of a public inquiry, but as soon as this has concluded, we expect a detailed explanation of how these differences came about,” he added.

The MoD agreed to pay £2.83 million to the family of Baha Mousa and nine other men earlier this month after admitting “substantive breaches” of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Mr Mousa, a 26-year-old hotel receptionist was found dead two days after being taken to a British base with six other men in 2003. A post-mortem examination revealed Mr Mousa had suffered 93 injuries, including a broken nose and fractured ribs.

The Aitken review concluded: “I take no pride in the conduct of those of our people – however few – who took it upon themselves to deliberately abuse Iraqi civilians. This report is rightly critical of our performance in a number of areas, and accurately reflects the sense of professional humility that I know we all feel at those failings.”