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Iraq minister's guards held on terror charges
by Staff Writers
Baghdad (AFP) Dec 21, 2012

British doctor banned from work over Iraqi's death
London (AFP) Dec 21, 2012 - A British army doctor who confirmed the death of an Iraqi detainee in 2003 was on Friday banned from practising after a tribunal found he lied about the injuries the civilian had suffered in a beating by British soldiers.

Derek Keilloh, now a family doctor, was struck off the medical register after the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) found him guilty on Sunday of dishonest conduct over the death of 26-year-old hotel receptionist Baha Mousa.

Keilloh, 38, had supervised a failed resuscitation attempt to save Mousa, who had been hooded and severely beaten by British soldiers after his arrest in September 2003 along with nine other suspected insurgents in the war-torn southern city of Basra.

Mousa, a father of two, died 36 hours after his arrest having sustained 93 separate injuries, including fractured ribs and a broken nose, an inquiry last year heard.

Keilloh, then a captain and regimental medical officer, claimed during a later interview, court martial and public inquiry that he had only seen dried blood around Mousa's nose.

But the MPTS found that the doctor had been aware of the Iraqi's other injuries from his own observations and from information by other medical staff.

At the end of a marathon 47-day hearing in Manchester, northwest England, the MPTS said Keilloh's "repeated dishonesty" meant he was no longer fit to work as a doctor.

"The panel determined that erasure is the only appropriate sanction in this case," MPTS chairman Brian Alderman told Keilloh.

"Given the gravity and nature of the extent and context of your dishonesty, it considers that your misconduct is fundamentally incompatible with continued registration."

The tribunal found that Keilloh failed to conduct an examination of Mousa's body or to act to protect the other civilian detainees from mistreatment, and also failed to notify a superior officer of what had happened.

It recognised that Keilloh had done "everything possible" to save Mousa's life in a setting that was "highly charged, chaotic, tense and stressful".

The public inquiry into the case last year found that Mousa died as a result of his injuries and his weakened physical state caused by his mistreatment, the extreme heat and a lack of food and water.

British soldier Donald Payne was jailed for a year over the death in 2007, becoming the first member of the British armed forces to be convicted of a war crime.

About 46,000 British troops were deployed to Iraq at the height of the conflict following the US-led invasion in 2003, with the vast majority withdrawn in 2009.

At least nine of the Iraqi finance minister's guards are being held on terrorism charges, officials said on Friday after the minister demanded the premier's resignation following their arrest.

The dispute threatens to reignite a long-running feud between the secular, Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, of which Finance Minister Rafa al-Essawi is a member, and Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Higher Judicial Council spokesman Abdelsattar Bayraqdar told AFP that nine of Essawi's guards were detained under the anti-terrorism law, and that all the necessary arrest warrants had been obtained.

And he told Iraqiya state television that the commander of the guards had confessed to carrying out "terrorist acts," which he said meant "bombings and assassinations."

Maliki in an emailed statement put the number of guards arrested at 10, and expressed "astonishment" at what he termed "linking the issue of the detainees with political disputes" and "trying to pull the whole country toward sectarian strife."

He also denied that the arrests were sectarian in nature, saying that "carrying out judicial orders against accused (people) does not mean targeting a specific sect."

The interior ministry website said its forces arrested 10 guards around Essawi's house, and published what it said were copies of the warrants.

Essawi said on Thursday that a "militia force" -- an apparent reference to a security forces unit -- raided the ministry and his home "in an illegal act, without a judicial order," detaining 150 guards.

"I call on the prime minister to resign, because he did not behave like a man of state," Essawi told a news conference alongside parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlak, also Iraqiya members.

A statement from Maliki's office on Friday, meanwhile, said without elaborating that some security forces members "did not act professionally" during arrests the day before, apparently referring to the arrest of Essawi's guards, and that the premier ordered them to be referred to the judiciary.

About 500 people protested against the arrests and Maliki on Friday in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, and several hundred also took to the streets of Samarra and Tikrit, north of the capital.

Iraqiya and other members of Maliki's unstable national unity government have accused him in the past year of concentrating power in his hands and moving towards dictatorship.

Opposition to Maliki escalated into calls for his removal, but his opponents lacked the parliamentary votes to do so. Essawi also called on Thursday for no-confidence proceedings to be reopened.

The arrest of Essawi's guards comes almost exactly a year after Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi's guards were arrested and accused of terrorism.

An arrest warrant was also issued for Hashemi, like Essawi, an Iraqiya member, who fled to Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region and eventually to Turkey, saying the charges against him were politically motivated.

Hashemi has since been given multiple death sentences in absentia on charges including murder, while death sentences have been handed down to his guards as well.


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Iraq finance minister demands PM's resignation
Baghdad (AFP) Dec 20, 2012
Iraqi Finance Minister Rafa al-Essawi demanded that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki resign after a "militia force" allegedly raided the ministry and detained its guards on Thursday. Essawi's remarks may reignite a long-running feud between the secular, Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, of which he is a member, and the Shiite premier. "I call on the prime minister to resign, because he did not beh ... read more

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