Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Thursday, 27 May 2010 13:33 UK

Baha Mousa inquiry to quiz Geoff Hoon and Adam Ingram

Baha Mousa and his family
Iraqi hotel worker Baha Mousa, 26, died in Basra in September 2003

Two former Labour defence ministers are to be questioned at a public inquiry about the alleged abuse of Iraqi prisoners by British troops.

Ex-ministers Geoff Hoon and Adam Ingram will appear before the Baha Mousa Inquiry in June.

They are expected to be asked if they knew UK forces used banned prisoner-handling techniques in Iraq in 2003.

The inquiry is investigating claims UK soldiers beat to death Iraqi hotel receptionist Baha Mousa, 26, in 2003.

He was found dead in Basra, southern Iraq, with 93 separate injuries after being held in the custody of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment.

Mr Ingram, armed forces minister from 2001 to 2007, will appear before the inquiry on 2 June.

And Mr Hoon, who was defence secretary between 1999 and 2005, will appear on 10 June.

The inquiry has heard that the troops used "conditioning" methods on Iraqi prisoners, such as "hooding", sleep deprivation and making them stand in painful stress positions with their knees bent and hands outstretched.

'Very serious' concerns

The techniques were banned by the government in 1972 following an investigation into interrogation in Northern Ireland.

The inquiry is currently examining who within the chain of command told British soldiers serving in Iraq in 2003 they were permitted to use these banned methods.

It has already heard that the Army's senior legal officer in Iraq at the time of the invasion, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Mercer, believed his "very serious" concerns about the treatment of Iraqi prisoners were passed on to military headquarters in Britain "and/or ministers".

Lawyers involved in the inquiry have previously suggested that former attorney general Lord Goldsmith could be asked to appear as a witness.

However, the inquiry has confirmed that Lord Goldsmith will not be asked to provide a statement or give testimony.

A spokesman said the chairman of the inquiry had ruled that the former attorney general's advice on the European Convention on Human Rights "is not relevant to the inquiry, and therefore he will not be called to give evidence".



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