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Finn Frandsen
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Shalaw Jaza, 23: “They say that Iraq is safe. But that’s not true. They can’t control the situation. If Iraq is safe, then why are so many people killed each day?”

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Lawyers banned from Iraqi interrogations

Rejected Iraqi asylum-seekers have been refused the support of their lawyers in meetings with an Iraqi delegation.

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Rejected Iraqi asylum-seekers, who are to be presented before an Iraqi investigation delegation in Denmark, are not to be allowed to have their court-appointed Danish lawyers present at interrogations.

Two of the court-appointed lawyers, who represent several of the Iraqis incarcerated at the Sandholm Camp, say the decision is a major problem. Both have unsuccessfully applied to be present during interrogations.

“We want to be in there to ensure just treatment for our clients. We have no idea what goes on in the room, and it is important to be a fly on the wall and make sure that the interrogations are carried out properly and in a civilised tone,” says Lawyer Kåre Traberg Smidt.

What’s going on

Traberg Smidt represents 10 of the Iraqis, including several of those whom police evicted from the Brorson’s Church in Copenhagen last week.

“Denmark is party to all of the conventions on the protection of individuals and minorities. So we also need to know what goes on when we allow a delegation to interrogate people in a closed room without witnesses,” Traberg Smidt says.

About face
A court decision was required before the Iraqis could be forced to appear before the Iraqi delegation, and in court hearings in which lawyers Traberg Smidt and Helge Nørrung took part, police representatives said there was no reason not to allow counsel to be present during hearings.

But Traberg Smidt and Nørrung say police have since changed their minds, and in order to stop the interrogations, one of the cases has now been appealed.

Trust
Several of the Iraqis involved – among them 23-year-old Shalaw Jaza - say they feel unsafe having to meet the delegation.

“I don’t know why I have to talk to them. I don’t trust them. They do nothing for Iraqis in Denmark, that’s for sure,” Jaza says.

He adds that he does not believe that the Iraqi delegation will tell the truth about the security situation in Iraq.

“They say that Iraq is safe. But that’s not true. They can’t control the situation. If Iraq is safe, then why are so many people killed each day?” asks Jaza.

The Police Department for Aliens has not been available for comment.

Edited by Julian Isherwood

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