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Liam Fox Rejects Key Baha Mousa Inquiry Finding

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LIAM FOX
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PRESS ASSOCIATION -- Defence Secretary Liam Fox has rejected a key finding of the inquiry into the treatment of Iraqi civilian Baha Mousa, that soldiers should not be allowed to shout during interrogations.

Inquiry chairman and report author Sir William Gage advised that the "harsh approach" should be banned.

But speaking to the House of Commons as Mr Mousa's family called for fresh prosecutions of the soldiers who abused him, Dr Fox said: "I can inform this House that I am accepting in principle all of his recommendations with one reservation."

He said: "It is vital that we retain the techniques necessary to secure swiftly in appropriate circumstances the intelligence that can save lives.

"The recommendation that we institute a blanket ban during tactical questioning on the use of certain verbal and non-physical techniques I am afraid I cannot accept. However, I share some of Sir William's concerns and I have asked the Chief of Defence Staff to ensure that this approach is only used by defined people in defined circumstances."

Dr Fox condemned those responsible for the innocent Iraqi's death. And he described the events leading to the 26-year-old civilian's death in September 2003 at the hands of soldiers from the First Battalion of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment as "deplorable, shocking and shameful".

He stressed publication of the report and the end of the Baha Mousa inquiry, which lasted more than two years, does not mean investigations are over. He revealed he has asked the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Peter Wall, to consider, where individuals are still serving, what action can be taken against them.

Speaking from Downing Street, Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the "truly shocking and appalling" abuse suffered by Mr Mousa.

He said: "It is clearly a truly shocking and appalling incident. This should not have happened, it should never be allowed to happen again. The British Army, as it does, should uphold the highest standards. We should take every step possible to make sure this never happens again.

"If there is further evidence that comes out of this inquiry that requires action to be taken, it should be taken. Britain does not cover these things up, we do not sweep them under the carpet. We deal with it."

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