Former head of British army attacks Colonel over prisoner abuse A British commanding officer was yesterday publicly blamed for the death of an Iraqi prisoner by former head of the Army General Sir Mike Jackson. The highly decorated Colonel Jorge Mendonca was in charge of 1st Battalion, Queenâs Lancashire Regiment when his men allegedly beat Baha Mousa to death in Basra in September 2003. General Jackson told a public inquiry into the death that it was a âbedrockâ of the Armyâs philosophy that a commanding officer is responsible for what happens under his control. Mr Mousa, 26, a hotel receptionist, was hooded for 24 out of 36 hours while in detention - despite the âconditioningâ technique being outlawed in 1972 - and suffered 93 separate injuries. Colonel Mendonca was later acquitted of any wrongdoing at a court martial but his commission in disgust after claiming he had been âhung out to dryâ by his commanders. General Jackson, the Chief of the General Staff from 2003 to 2006, appeared to lay responsibility for the mistreatment of Mr Mousa at the officerâs door when he gave evidence to the Â£3.5million public inquiry. He said the incident remained âa stain on the character of the British Armyâ. Asked at what rank military personnel should have known what was happening to Mr Mousa and his colleagues, he said: âIt is absolutely bedrock to the British Armyâs philosophy that a commanding officer is responsible for what goes on within his command.â General Jackson agreed that the hooding of Mr Mousa and other Iraqi detainees was inhumane after they were placed in holding cells. But he said there should not be a blanket ban on hooding because in the heat of battle it may be necessary to use whatever comes to hand to stop prisoners seeing sensitive information. He insisted that the practice should only be used while transporting suspects to a detention facility, adding that it would â betterâ if they were deprived of sight by âless intrusiveâ methods, such as blindfolding. Colonel Mendonca became the most senior officer in recent history to face a court martial when he was charged with neglect of duty over the abuse of prisoners. Giving evidence to the inquiry in February, Colonel Mendonca agreed he was ultimately accountable for Mr Mousaâs death. But he denied knowledge of the abuse of Iraqi detainees, adding that he was âappalledâ by allegations of mistreatment.