Hasan Suroor

LONDON: A British army officer is reported to have told a court martial that instructions to abuse Iraqis in contravention of the Geneva Convention came from the top. Major Antony Royce, who was in charge of internment of Iraqis in Basra, claimed that he was told to use "conditioning techniques'' such as hooding prisoners and putting them in stress positions to prepare them for questioning.

Appearing as a witness in the trial of seven British soldiers accused of mistreating nine Iraqis in Basra in 2003, he said he was told by senior intelligence adviser Major Mark Robinson to "condition'' prisoners to soften them for questioning. The trial relates to a case in which a civilian, Baha Musa, died after being allegedly hooded for many hours, beaten and subjected to sleep deprivation.