Baha Mousa inquiry: Reaction to report

A public inquiry has condemned the treatment of Iraqi detainees by British soldiers in 2003, blaming a lack of discipline on the ground and a "corporate failure" at the Ministry of Defence.

It concluded that detainee Baha Mousa, a hotel worker in Basra, died as a result of appalling and gratuitous violence by members of 1st Battalion the Queen's Lancashire Regiment.

Here, lawyers, politicians and those connected with the case give their reactions.

David Cameron, Prime Minister

It is clearly a truly shocking and appalling incident. This should not have happened, it should never be allowed to happen again.

The British Army, as it does, should uphold the highest standards. We should take every step possible to make sure this never happens again.

If there is further evidence that comes out of this inquiry that requires action to be taken, it should be taken.

Britain does not cover these things up, we do not sweep them under the carpet. We deal with it.

Liam Fox, Defence Secretary

I believe it [the report] to be fair and balanced. It is, however, a painful and difficult read.

What happened to Baha Mousa and his fellow detainees in September 2003 was deplorable, shocking and shameful. The Ministry of Defence and the army have previously made a full apology to the family of Baha Mousa and to his fellow detainees, and has paid compensation to them.

We can take some limited comfort that incidents like this are extremely rare, but we cannot be satisfied by that.

Daoud Mousa, Baha Mousa's father

I remember Baha all the time. I look at his picture in my thoughts. He is, Baha is, in my heart. I love Baha. He is a good son.

Phil Shiner, Baha Mousa's lawyer

Sir William makes 73 recommendations. Of those, we particularly welcome his conclusions that hooding and the harsh technique as a form of tactical questioning should never be used in any circumstances.

Moreover, we strongly support Sir William's suggestions that a system of independent, that is civilian, inspection of places of detention should be developed and there should be a regular, independent review of the relevant doctrine and training materials.

It is time for civil and military society to work together. The MoD are a disgraceful outfit. Whether one is a British soldier or an innocent Iraqi civilian, they just don't care and they are proud not to care."

Sapna Malik, Baha Mousa lawyer from Leigh Day and Co

In light of the cogent and serious findings by Sir William Gage, we now expect that the military and civilian prosecuting authorities of this country will act to ensure that justice is done.

General Sir Peter Wall

Although the challenges that soldiers faced in Iraq in 2003 were hostile and intense there can be no excuse for the loss of discipline and lack of moral courage that occurred.

Since Baha Mousa's tragic death the army has sought to establish a full understanding of how and why this disgraceful event occurred.

It's clear from the inquiry report that we were ill-prepared in 2003 for the task of handling civilian detainees.

The army has made strenuous efforts since then to transform the way we train for and conduct detention operations.

William Hague, Foreign Secretary

I don't think that torture or mistreatment of people is the way to gather useful intelligence.

I think it is a great mistake and on top of that it undermines the moral standing of our own society and thereby just creates more enemies in the future.

So, it is a fundamental error to think that way and Britain is not going to think that way.

Jim Murphy, shadow defence secretary

It is essential that our armed forces take responsibility for all actions committed during conflict.

Our strength relies not just on our fire power but it also relies on the standards and the ethics that we uphold and we pride ourselves in.

This incident is a brutal violation of those standards.

William Baiche, Cpl Donald Payne's lawyer

Mr Payne took a decision, albeit a little late in the day, that he had to tell the truth about all that happened, including... conduct on his part which was shameful.

He faced up to that responsibility, he did his best to assist the inquiry, telling the truth as he knew it.

I have the feeling that he will feel there's been a little too much emphasis placed on his role in this case, and I think too much of the blame perhaps has been allotted to him.

Patrick Mercer, Tory MP and former Army colonel

Whichever way you cut this, inside this unit there has been a failure of leadership. Whoever bears responsibility for... striking a prisoner, clearly that is desperately serious.

But each of these soldiers... had to be supervised by NCOs, by officers themselves, and that seems to have broken down.

I cannot sympathise with this, but I can empathise with the pressure that these soldiers were under. This is all very one-sided that we've heard this morning.

Lord Goldsmith, former Attorney-General

I think there's evidence... that the MoD's legal advisers deliberately did not seek my advice on that question. [whether the use of conditioning techniques were checked with his department]

[It] would have been one possibility that they didn't want to receive unwelcome advice.

I would have said these techniques were outlawed in 1972, there was cross-party support for outlawing them, and on top of that, that we were under an obligation - both legal as well as moral - to treat even detainees with proper standards of humanity in Iraq, and that plainly was not what happened.