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Doctor guilty of lying in Iraqi prisoner death case

A SCOTS-trained doctor's career is in tatters after he was found guilty of lying about claims he did not see the catalogue of injuries that led to the death of an Iraqi prisoner who was severely beaten by British soldiers.

DR derek KEILLOH: May be struck off after verdict.
DR derek KEILLOH: May be struck off after verdict.

Dr Derek Keilloh faces being struck off after the UK's adjudication service for doctors ruled he was guilty of dishonest and misleading conduct in the notorious case of Baha Mousa, who died during the Iraq war in 2003.

The disgraced doctor, who trained at Aberdeen University, was the senior medic on duty who treated Mr Mousa, 26, after he was arrested and beaten by British soldiers in Basra.

Hooded in a sandbag for nearly 24 hours, Mr Mousa suffered 93 separate injuries, including fractured ribs and a broken nose, during the final 36 hours of his life in the custody of the 1st Battalion, Queen's Lancashire Regiment (1 QLR).

Dr Keilloh consistently claimed under oath at courts-martial and a subsequent public inquiry that he saw no injuries to Mr Mousa's body, saying he only spotted dried blood around his nose.

However, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) has now ruled that, while the injuries to Mr Mousa and others were the responsibility of British soldiers, there were "clearly failings by others with responsibility towards the detainees to have safeguarded their welfare".

Last night, one of the men arrested and beaten alongside the hotel receptionist branded Dr Keilloh inhumane and said he had failed to fulfil his basic duties as a doctor.

Ahmed al Matairi, who gave evidence against Dr Keilloh, said: "He was a doctor and he should have helped us, but, even after Baha Mousa's death, he did nothing.

"He did not act in a humane manner and he betrayed his profession. I welcome the ruling and now hope that the panel will act on their findings."

Dr Keilloh was a 28-year-old captain and regimental medical officer of the QLR, although he was new to the post and had been in the job only eight weeks when Mr Mousa died.

On September 14, 2003 Mr Mousa and other detainees were brought in for questioning after being arrested at the Ibn Al Haitham hotel in Basra in the early hours of the morning.

After finding AK47s, sub-machine guns, pistols, fake ID cards and military clothing, the suspects were taken into custody at the British Army base.

At around 9.30pm the next day, Dr Keilloh was summoned from his medical post to the detention area because Mr Mousa had "fallen and collapsed".

When Dr Keilloh arrived he found Mr Mousa lying on his back with no shirt on.

With soldiers standing around the body, one medic who arrived on the scene blurted out: "Look at the state of him," when they saw the patient "covered in bruises".

Dr Keilloh and his team tried for half an hour to resuscitate Mr Mousa before he was declared dead at 10.05pm.

A public inquiry concluded Mr Mousa's death was caused by a combination of his weakened physical state – due to factors including the heat, exhaustion, his previous injuries and the hooding and stress positions he was subjected to by British troops – and a final struggle with his guards at the detention centre at Army

HQ in Basra. Mr Matairi, who was detained with Mr Mousa, told the tribunal Dr Keilloh was a criminal who ignored the cries of men being tortured.

He described hearing Mr Mousa's final words as he was beaten and tortured, saying his friend told his tormentors: "I am innocent. I am not a Baathist.

"My wife died six months ago. Blood! Blood!

"I am going to die. My children are going to become orphans."

Dr Keilloh, who now works at Mayford House Surgery in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, showed no reaction as Dr Brian Alderman, chairman of the MPTS panel hearing the case, delivered the verdict.

The case lasted 42 days, with much of the hearing held in private. In all, there were 51 individual allegations, 30 already admitted, 17 found proved and four not proved.

Lawyers for Dr Keilloh and the General Medical Council, which prosecuted the case, asked for time to digest the findings. The panel will sit again today.

The tribunal will decide whether his behaviour amounted to misconduct, and, if so, what the penalty should be.

The MPTS has the power to suspend or strike off doctors it finds guilty of misconduct.

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