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Nytårstilbud: Følg med i Politiken hele året for kun 2021,- Køb nu

Defence ministry kept abuse secret

Iraqi prisoner abuse information was blacked out of a report to the Defence Committee.

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The Danish Defence Ministry received documentation in 2004 showing that prisoners were liable to abuse by Iraqi police, but Danish soldiers were allowed to continue to detain Iraqis and hand them over according to Information, which says the ministry withheld the documentation from Parliament.

It was during an inspection of the Al Makil prison in Basra in June 2004 that the Danish battalion saw the brutal methods used by the Iraqi police. Eight of 15 prisoners said they had been abused by officers, with several showing physical signs of abuse in the form of scars, burns and other physical injuries.

“My impression was that it was quite normal for them to be beaten by the police into confessions for something or other,” says Danish Battalion Legal Officer Kurt Borgkvist, who took part in the inspection.

While Denmark was not directly responsible for any of the eight prisoners, the Danish battalion had at that point handed over 113 prisoners to local police. The Defence Ministry knew that information about prisoner abuse was controversial, and had ordered Defence Command Denmark several weeks previously to report ‘any abuse of detainees, irrespective of whether they have been in Danish custody’.

Edited by Julian Isherwood

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