Via Liberal Catnip, we learn that not all Britishers are cheeky, happy-go-lucky scamps like the Monty Python crew:
... At least two witness statements taken in Damascus just last week from Iraqis detained at the same time, and obtained by The Independent on Sunday, throw fresh light on his treatment. Mohand Dhahir Abdulah, then a 17-year-old student, said he had known Baha Mousa for two years, and immediately recognised his voice when he screamed: "Please give me only half an hour so I can breathe some fresh air. I am going to die." Mr Abdulah adds: "I heard sounds of beating, so it appeared the soldiers continued to beat him, despite his screams."
Maitham Mohammed al-Waz, a 37-year-old furniture maker, says he heard a voice pleading: "Please leave me. I am dying. I am dying. Have mercy. Don't hit me. I am going to die." The following morning the soldiers removed the hood over Mr al-Waz's head. "I saw a man lying on a stretcher. His body was not covered with any cloth. He appeared dead. I recall that at one point his arm bounced off the stretcher, limp." ...
Mr al-Waz, arrested after his car was hijacked by insurgents in 2003, says of his treatment at the British Temporary Detention Facility in Basra: " I was asked to enter a room and stand at a corner. I saw six or seven civilian men... all had their hands cuffed to the front and were hooded with hoods/sandbags. They were groaning in pain. Their clothes were torn. I was forced to wear a hood. A soldier made a gesture as if he was going to punch me. When I flinched he knew I could see a little. He then placed more hoods until I could see nothing.
"I was asked to stand up, bend my knees and keep my arms stretched out in front. After five to 10 minutes I could no longer keep my arms outstretched and they dropped. As soon as they dropped I was hit with a bar across my back and on to my arms. I was also hit very forcibly on my left knee. The blows were very painful. I screamed and hollered in pain."
Mr al-Waz added that he was not allowed to sleep for two nights - sleep deprivation is a recognised form of torture. His treatment has left him a changed man, he said, prone to nightmares and violence against his wife and children.
His testimony is echoed by Mr Abdulah, who told a similar tale of being hooded and beaten and being deprived of sleep. He also said he was forced to sit with his head in the bowl of a toilet for hours at a time and to kneel bare-legged on sharp stones in the blazing 45C heat.
He added: "At one point I recall a soldier urinating on me. I could feel the urine seeping through my hood and running down my arms. It was a disgusting experience. A soldier came to me shortly afterwards with a bottle, saying 'Water, water'. He partially lifted the hoods and placed the bottle in my mouth and forced me to drink its contents. I realised it was urine." ...
I was born on 7 March 1985 and am 22 years old. I am a university student studying economics and management at the University of Basra, in my third year. I am unmarried.
I was taken by a soldier to the gritty courtyard. I was then ordered by him to do what he was doing. He acted out by lifting his trousers, indicating that I should do the same to expose my knees. Then he kneeled, indicating that I should do the same. I was forced to kneel in the courtyard on a bed of sharp-edged pebbles. I had to do this for some time, in the hot blazing sun. It is very hot in Basra in the month of September with average temperatures at 45 degrees. At the time we arrived at Camp Stephen it was around midday, with the sun at his highest point, the hottest period of the day. The sharp pebbles hurt me and after a while my knees felt numb.
After a short while, a soldier indicated that I should get up. When I did so I saw the deep imprints made by the pebbles on my knees. The skin around my knees was bruised and tender. The soldier simply laughed at my agony.
Appalling, yes, and I'm sure crack Boy Detective Steve Janke will be all over this as soon as he deals with that raging toothpaste controversy.
It's a priorities thing, you know.