New information obtained by Dagbladet Information shows that already in June 2005 the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs was aware of the identity of the killer of the Iraqi detainee Abbas Allawi, of the method of killing, and of the fact that Allawi’s death was just one cirme out of many commited against detainees and defenseless civilians by Basra police.
Information about the abuse concerned Denmark enough to send and official protest to the Iraqi government but it was not sufficient to put a halt to the transfer of other detainees to the Iraqi police.
The information is contained in a diplomatic report obtained by Information showing that the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs was alarmed by the extent of abuse commited by Basra’s police before June 2005. According to the report, members of the Basra police were involved in activities ranging from assasinations and kidnapping to bribery, threats and illegal attacks against Iraqi civilians.
For the first time, official information shows that Danish authorities outside the Defense Forces were aware of the extensive prisoner abuse by the Iraqi police – even at government level.
According to the newly obtained information, Danish ambassador to Iraq Torben Getterman and his British counterpart, charge d’affaires Tim Torlot went to the office of the Iraqi Minister of Interior Baqr Jabr on June 1st, 2005, in order to hand over a strong official protest against the extensive abuse by the Iraqi police.
The diplomats brought, among other things, a British intelligence report, which names three members of the Basra Police Departmen tof Internal Affairs and Investigation Support Unit (ISU) as being responsible for a large number of violations, including the murder of the Iraqi detainee Abbas Allawi, who had been captured in a Danish-led operation in Al-Hartha, north of Basra, on 10.th of April, 2005. As previously documented by Information, Abbas Allawi was handed over to the Iraqi Police and subsequently tortured and killed.
According to the diplomatic report, the main responsibility for the torture of Allawi as well as the subsequent murder lies on an ISU lieutenant by the name of Abbas Munis who at the time was suspended from duty along with two other police officers involved in the case.
Beaten to death
Besides showing evidence of the complicity of the Iraqi police in the abuse, the two diplomats also brought findings from an obituary carried out in connection with the investigation of Allawi’s death. The obituary »substantiated charges that Allawi was beaten to death,« according to the diplomatic report.
According to the report, the main cause of Torben Getterman and Tim Torlot’s visit to the Iraqi Minister of the Interior is the fact, that Allawi’s death is merely the tip of an iceberg.
»The problem is far more widespread than indicated in a single report,« the British diplomat told the minister, according to the report. He also emphasized that crimes committed by corrupt police was known all over Basra.
The two diplomats expressed »grave concerns regarding the Basrah situation« as a problem that does »not only affect the police and prisoners, but the general public as well.« They made it clear that allegations against the police included both »assassinations, kidnappings, intimidation, bribery, threats against the judiciary, and illegal attacks against the citizens of Basrah.«
Transfer of prisoners continue
The document demonstrates the fact that the Danish ambassador as well as the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs were well aware of the extent of abuse by the Iraqi police on this the first day of June in 2005. And yet, the Danish forces upheld their policy of transferring detainees to the Iraqi security forces.
This is documented by the 391,832 leaked Iraqi war logs, that Information has had privileged access to. A war log dated 18.th of July, 2005, notes for instance that the Danish batallion DANBAT detained an Iraqi man and a 13-14 year-old boy who were subsequently handed over to the Iraqi police, who participated in the operation along with the Danes and the Brits. This is more than six weeks after Ambassador Getterman’s warnings to the Iraqi Minister of the Interior about the problems with the Iraqi police.
The official Danish line has been, that Denmark does not take responsibility for prisoners detained with Danish involvment, when the actual trasnfer to the Iraqis are carried out by the British soldiers. The meeting between the top diplomats suggests that this line has not totally convinced Danish authorities.
Neither Torben Getterman, nor the British charge d’affaires or the UK and Danish Foreign Ministries have wished to comment on the information in this article.