Doctor failed to spot 93 separate injuries on Iraqi beaten to death
AN ARMY doctor has been accused of a cover-up following the death of Iraqi detainee Baha Mousa at the hands of British soldiers.
• Mr Mousa suffered 93 separate injuries - including fractured ribs and a broken nose
• Dr Derek Keilloh said he only spotted dried blood around the nose of Mr Mousa
Dr Derek Keilloh, appearing before the General Medical Council (GMC) today, claimed he only saw dried blood around the nose of the hotel receptionist, who was arrested by soldiers from the 1st Battalion, Queen’s Lancashire Regiment (QLR) in a swoop against insurgents during the Iraq conflict in 2003.
Mr Mousa, 26, was hooded, handcuffed and beaten before he died 36 hours after first being arrested and held at the Army detention centre in the southern Iraq city of Basra.
His body swollen and bruised, Mr Mousa suffered 93 separate injuries – including fractured ribs and a broken nose.
Dr Keilloh supervised a failed resuscitation attempt of the shirtless Mr Mousa in a desperate bid to save the detainee’s life.
But the doctor, at the time a captain and Regimental Medical Officer of the QLR, has always maintained he did not see the victim’s catalogue of injuries.
He is appearing before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, a new arm of the GMC dealing with allegations of misconduct against doctors.
Dr Keilloh, who graduated from Aberdeen University in 1998 and had lived in Bielside in the city, denies dishonesty and misconduct in his treatment of Mr Mousa and other detainees.
The tribunal heard Dr Keilloh was just 28 at the time of the incident and new to his post, having been in the job only eight weeks.
After a “very short” handover, he took over the medical team of the QLR at their HQ in the former headquarters of the Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party in Basra City.
It was a practice, the tribunal heard, for detainees to be handcuffed with plastic cable cuffs and hooded with a sandbag.
They were checked and none reported injuries or illness before detention, along with Mousa.
Rebecca Poulet QC, counsel for the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS), said: “He was to die the following day as a result of the injuries inflicted on him by the soldiers guarding him and a final violent incident on the night of 15 September.”
At about 9:30pm the doctor was about to leave the medical post for the night, but summoned immediately to the detention area.
“He was told, ‘it was an emergency. This guy has collapsed’,” Mrs Poulet said.
The tribunal heard Ahmad Matairi, also detained in the operation, described hearing Mousa shout out: “I’m going to die! Why do you do this? I do not support Saddam!”
“After that he never heard him speak,” Mrs Poulet added.
When Dr Keilloh arrived he discovered Mousa lying on his back with soldiers standing around him and was told the detainee had “fallen and collapsed”. He was declared dead at 10:05pm.
Dr Keilloh was told, after he asked, that Mousa was brought into detention without any injuries.
At least two members of the medical team noticed the bruising and injuries to the lifeless body of Mousa and one remarked: “Look at the state of him!” the tribunal heard.
Mrs Poulet said: “In a witness statement which he gave to the Royal Military Police less than two days later, Dr Keilloh stated apart from dried blood around his nose, he did not notice any other injuries to Baha Mousa’s face or body.”
The hearing continues.
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