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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 June 2007, 19:28 GMT 20:28 UK
Family sues MoD over Iraq death
Baha Mousa
Baha Mousa died after being beaten while in British custody
The family of an Iraqi man who was beaten to death while in British military custody are suing the Ministry of Defence.

Lawyers for the children and father of Baha Mousa, a 26-year-old hotel worker, say they are looking for "hundreds of thousands of pounds" in damages.

Mr Mousa, who died in Basra in 2003, suffered 93 different injuries.

Cpl Donald Payne, 36, pleaded guilty at a court martial to inhumanely treating civilian detainees.

He was jailed for a year and dismissed from the army.

Along with six other men, Cpl Payne was accused of charges relating to the abuse of the group of Iraqi men arrested at a hotel where weapons and suspected bomb-making equipment were found in 2003.

Damaged reputation

Personal injury lawyer Martyn Day is representing the Mousa family and eight other Iraqi claimants who say they were mistreated by members of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment while in custody.

He said the case could open the door for further claims by Iraqi civilians.

"I am absolutely convinced that we will win this case," he said.

"This incident has caused massive damage to the Army's reputation in Basra and probably around the world.

"We will be saying to the court that they need to make an example to show the Ministry of Defence and the British Army that incidents such as these will not be tolerated."

Orphaned children

Mr Day, a senior partner with London law firm Leigh Day, said a claim for punitive damages - aimed as a future deterrent to British forces - will be filed within the next two weeks.

He said any money won from the claim would go towards supporting Mr Mousa's two children, aged five and three at the time of his death.

Their mother died a year before Mr Mousa was killed and they are now being raised by his father, Colonel Dawd Mousa, a senior Basra police officer.

Six other soldiers were cleared of the alleged abuse of the detainees.

It was the first time British servicemen had been prosecuted for war crimes under the International Criminal Court Act 2001.

Cpl Payne's admission resulted in him being Britain's first convicted war criminal.

He was cleared by a court martial of manslaughter and perverting the course of justice.

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