UK doctor stripped of license over death of Iraqi

AP News
Posted: Dec 21, 2012 10:31 AM
UK doctor stripped of license over death of Iraqi

LONDON (AP) — A British doctor was stripped of his medical license Friday for misconduct and dishonesty over the death of an Iraqi man who was beaten and killed while in the custody of British troops.

The latest fallout from Britain's troubled occupation of Iraq came as defense officials confirmed they have paid 14 million pounds ($23 million) to settle claims of abuse from more than 200 Iraqis.

Dr. Derek Keilloh treated Baha Mousa, a hotel clerk who died at a British base after being detained in Basra in September 2003 during a sweep for insurgents. Keilloh, then a 28-year-old captain in the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, tried unsuccessfully to revive Mousa, but denied knowledge of the scale of the man's injuries.

A public inquiry found that Mousa had sustained 93 injuries, including fractured ribs and a broken nose, in an "appalling episode of serious gratuitous violence" by British troops.

Dr. Jim Rodger of the Medical and Dental Defense Union of Scotland — which supported Keilloh — said the doctor was "extremely disappointed" by the ruling and was considering what to do next. He has 28 days to submit an appeal.

Last week, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service ruled that Keilloh knew of the injuries and failed to adequately examine Mousa's body. It said he also failed to inform senior officers of what was going on and protect other detainees from further mistreatment.

The tribunal also ruled that Keilloh engaged in "misleading and dishonest conduct" by maintaining under oath that he had seen no injuries to Mousa's body.

On Friday, the tribunal said that even though Keilloh had not harmed Mousa — and had tried his best to save him in a "highly charged, chaotic, tense and stressful" situation — the doctor should be barred from practicing medicine for at least five years.

"The panel has identified serious breaches of good medical practice and, given the gravity and nature of the extent and context of your dishonesty, it considers that your misconduct is fundamentally incompatible with continued registration," said Dr. Brian Alderman, a member of the tribunal.

Baha Mousa's father, Daoud Mousa, said he wished the doctor had been banned for life.

"He did not have humanity in his heart when he was supposed to be caring for my son," Daoud Mousa said. "He did not do his job properly."

The death of Mousa and mistreatment of other detainees blighted Britain's six-year deployment in southern Iraq, which ended in 2009.

Britain's defense authorities eventually apologized for the mistreatment of Mousa and nine other Iraqis and paid a 3-million-pound ($4.9-million) settlement. Six soldiers were cleared of wrongdoing at a court martial, while another pleaded guilty and served a year in jail.

The defense ministry said Friday that Britain has paid 14 million pounds to settle 205 damages claims since 2008, including 162 this year. A further 196 claims are being negotiated.

It said most of the 120,000 British troops who served in Iraq "conducted themselves with the highest standards of integrity and professionalism."