Iraq death doctor acted dishonestly, tribunal rules

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

AN army doctor has been found guilty of turning a blind eye to the torture death of a prisoner who was arrested by Lancashire soldiers during the Gulf conflict.

Dr Derek Keilloh, 37, has been held responsible over a cover-up following the killing of Baha Mousa, an Iraqi hotel receptionist who had been detained by the former Queen's Lancashire Regiment (QLR) in September 2003.

The army medic was attached to the QLR's 1st Battalion at a detention centre in Basra in September 2003 and certified the death of Mousa, who suffered 93 separate injuries - including fractured ribs and a broken nose.

But a Medical Practitioner's Tribunal Service (MPTS) hearing has been told that Keilloh, now a GP in Northallerton, only recorded that Mr Mousa had some dried blood around his nose at the time of his death.

Dr Keilloh also lied to military police during a subsequent investigation into the death of Mr Mousa, a later court martial and a public inquiry, an MPTS fitness to practice panel has ruled.

The doctor, who supervised a failed resuscitation attempt on Mr Mousa, was also found to have failed to take any action over the physical condition of other detainees at the detention centre, in the wake of his death.

Thirty formal admissions were made during the course of the proceedings, covering his time in Iraq and the later investigations by military police, court martial and a public inquiry. Another 17 were found proved and four not proved after a 42-day hearing in Manchester.

He was also said to have failed to record a number of injuries on other detainees he examined. His conduct was found to have been 'untrue' 'misleading' and 'dishonest' in respect of one detainee but not in respect of a second.

Corporal Donald Payne, of the QLR, was later convicted of inhumane treatment, at a military court martial, making him the first British soldier to be found guilty of war crimes. Soldiers were said to have hooded and cuffed detainees, deprived them of sleep and repeatedly beaten them during a 36-hour ordeal.

Another detainee, Ahmed Al Matari, who had also been seen by Dr Keilloh at the detention centre after being kicked in the kidneys and legs, accused him of behaving like a 'criminal' during the MPTS hearing.

Mr Al Matari said he was still in handcuffs and stripped to the waist when Dr Keilloh examined him. The doctor warned the accompanying soldiers that they should not hit him any further, he said. Mr Al Matari also accused him of ignoring the cries of detainees at the detention centre.

The MPTS panel, chaired by Dr Brian Alderman, must now determine whether their findings amount to professional misconduct. The MPTS have the power to suspend or strike off doctors they find guilty of misconduct.

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