Socialist Worker

British corporal jailed for abuse of Iraqi hotel worker

Issue No. 2049

Baha Musa, an Iraqi hotel worker, died with 93 separate injuries to his body as a result of severe beatings he received while detained by British troops in Basra.

This week Corporal Donald Payne, the only soldier to have pleaded guilty to abuse in connection with the case, was jailed for a year.

Payne is the first British soldier ever to have been found guilty of war crimes.

A court martial was told that Payne acted as a ÒchoirmasterÓ in charge of the captive Iraqis. The cries of pain from Iraqi detainees provided his ÒmusicÓ.

Six other soldiers, including Colonel Jorge Mendonca, were earlier cleared over charges relating to Musa’s death.

The judge said Mendonca and his staff were absolved from blame in the incident because they were under the impression that the abuse was sanctioned by their commanders.

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Tue 1 May 2007, 19:22 BST
Issue No. 2049
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