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UK military lawyer approved 'conditioning' of Iraqi detainees: testimony

[JURIST] A British Army major has testified that a military legal adviser approved techniques for preparing Iraqi detainees for interrogation with techniques that allegedly violated the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials]. Maj. Antony Royce told a court-martial of several other soldiers charged with abusing Iraqi detainees that his superiors ordered him to "condition" the detainees for questioning by putting them in stress positions and requiring them to wear hoods. When he questioned whether the methods were legal, he said barrister Maj. Russell Clifton assured him that they were. Clifton submitted a statement to the court indicating that he could not recall being consulted by Royce, but he added that the techniques may be permissible in some circumstances.

Seven soldiers [MOD press release; JURIST report] of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment [official website] were initially charged in connection to the abuse of 11 Iraqi detainees after their arrest in Basra in September 2003. One of those detainees, Baha Mousa [BBC report; JURIST report] died while in custody. In September, one of the soldiers charged in the case pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to charges of inflicting inhumane treatment. The Telegraph has more.

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