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MPs cast doubt on
Ministers and senior military officers are today challenged over discrepancies in evidence they gave to a parliamentary committee on the use of torture techniques by British troops in
Evidence given to MPs by the former armed forces minister, Adam Ingram, and Lieutenant General Robin Brims, former commander of UK forces in Iraq, failed to address concerns over whether the Ministry of Defence gave soldiers permission to abuse detainees in Iraq.
The MoD is also accused in today's report by the joint select committee on human rights of blocking their inquiries by refusing to explain why such senior figures appeared unaware that the use of torture techniques by British soldiers may have been officially sanctioned.
Both Ingram and Brims, who won the Distinguished Service Order for his leadership in
Yet MPs said their claims contradicted evidence that British soldiers in
Chair of the committee Andrew Dismore MP said: 'We have yet to receive an explanation from the MoD for the discrepancies in evidence given to the committee by Ingram in 2004 and Lieutenant General Brims in 2006, on the use of these illegal conditioning techniques.'
Techniques such as hooding were prohibited in 1972 under the Geneva convention and are against the British army's own rules of engagement.
Evidence heard during the court martial into the death of Iraqi civilian Baha Musa in British custody in 2003 heard that soldiers were instructed by those higher up the chain of command in Basra to use 'conditioning techniques', including putting prisoners in stress positions and hooding them, to prepare detainees for tactical questioning.
Musa, a hotel receptionist, was beaten to death in
Solicitor Sapna Malik, of Leigh Day & Co, who represented Musa's father, said: 'From the evidence we have seen, it is impossible to say whether ministers definitely knew about the use of banned interrogation techniques.'
Phil Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, which has acted in a number of Iraq abuse cases, said: 'There is evidence that British forces in Iraq routinely used coercive interrogation techniques - including sexual humiliation - and that interrogators were made to use them.'
Dismore added that it was possible that Ingram and Brims had no idea that such techniques were being used by British troops. But the fact the committee could not get a satisfactory response was cause for concern.
He said that after the public inquiry into the death of Musa, they would again be seeking answers. The inquiry is likely to examine guidance on interrogation techniques for
Last January, a report by Brigadier Robert Aitken, director of army personnel strategy, found that the bans on interrogation techniques had not been clearly explained to all soldiers.