Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Danish PM demands answers over torture report

COPENHAGEN, Tuesday

Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen said Tuesday he had ordered the country’s defence ministry to provide a full report on allegations Danish troops handed Iraqi insurgents over for torture.

Confidential documents published on Friday by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks showed that Danish troops deployed in Iraq from 2003 to 2007 handed over 62 prisoners to Iraqi police, despite knowing that they risked mistreatment and torture.

“I take these allegations very seriously and I only have one interest: to shine all light on this matter as quickly as possible,” he said.

Mr Rasmussen said he ordered Defence Minister Gitte Lillelund Bech to make a detailed report to parliament, which was necessary given the gravity of the case.

The centre-right leader rejected an opposition call for an independent inquiry, saying “it would take too much time”.

Delivered prisoners

A former soldier told television channel DR that Danish soldiers had delivered prisoners to Iraqi police in Basra, and they learned they had subsequently been tortured and in some cases killed.

Another former soldier said he had seen the body of a former Danish prisoner with his fingers cut off two days after he was handed over.

“Everybody knew perfectly well that prisoners handed over to Iraqi authorities were being tortured,” the soldier told tabloid Ekstra Bladet. (AFP)