2000-2009 | Iraq | Torture

Iraqi hotel receptionist tortured to death by British troops in Basra

Thousands march against the war in Iraq in London.
(Simon Rutherford – Feb 2003 – CC BY 2.0 – via Flickr.)

15 September 2003

On 15 September 2003, Baha Mousa, a hotel receptionist, was kicked, beaten and tortured to death by British troops in the Iraqi city of Basra.  He was one of a group of ten innocent civilians, who were subjected to appalling brutality. Their agony was witnessed by other soldiers, a medic, officers and even a padre who did nothing to stop it. For forty eight hours they were forced into stress positions in the extreme heat and repeatedly kicked and punched and humiliated. By the next day, as local army officers began to investigate, it was obvious that several of the surviving prisoners had received severe injuries.  Army medics found that one of them had sustained multiple bruising, another was suffering from a suspected broken rib and another from what seemed to be a broken vertebra.1 It took four years for the Inquiry into Baha Moussa’s death to be completed.  The final 1,400 page report concluded that a ‘large number’ of soldiers must have assaulted Moussa, who sustained a total of 93 injuries, but sadly no one was ever found guilty of murder or manslaughter and only one soldier was ever found guilty of inhumane treatment, for which he was dismissed from army service and received a year’s sentence.2


  1. A. T. Williams, A Very British Killing: The Death of Baha Mousa, Jonathan Cape, London, 2012, p. 15.
  2. Ibid., p. 269.

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