Marechaussee report abuses in Iraq

18th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

18 May 2007, THE HAGUE – Officers from the Marechaussee have reported "human rights violations" by marines in southern Iraq to the Van den Berg investigation committee, the Volkskrant reports.

18 May 2007

THE HAGUE – Officers from the Marechaussee have reported "human rights violations" by marines in southern Iraq to the Van den Berg investigation committee, the Volkskrant reports.

About 100 Iraqi suspects were held blindfolded without food or water for one day in October 2003. Plastic handcuffs were placed so tightly on a few that circulation to their hands was cut off. They were not allowed to visit the toilet. The dignity of the detainees was violated when officers took snapshots for their own private use.

The Van den Berg investigation committee was appointed after reports in the Volkskrant about abuses against Iraqi detainees by Dutch soldiers.

According to reports that also reached the leadership at the Marechaussee, criminal offences took place during and after an action undertaken by marines against illegal weapons trade in As Samawah on 21 October 2003. 

The Marechaussee charged with monitoring the soldiers' actions described the action as disproportional and a failure to the Van den Berg committee. After spying on a livestock market for two weeks, the marines thought they had enough indications to pick up suspects for illegal trade in weapons. The Marechaussee say it turned out that there was no sound evidence and few weapons were found.

During a briefing before the action, it was said that 15 men were to be arrested. In the end 96 were taken in, including an American and a Dutch tourist. One of the Marechaussee said they were treated in violation of war law.

Marechaussee who asked to remove the plastic handcuffs from arrestees already in detention were not given permission to do so. So many people were arrested in the action that a group of other arrestees had to wait handcuffed in the sun for hours.

Despite the impressions of the Marechaussee, the marine who led the operation felt it was a success.

Complaints about the treatment of prisoners reached Commander of the marines Swijgman two days later. British officers in the area report that a detainee claimed that an electric prod had been used while he was questioned by the Dutch. The officers of the military intelligence and security service who questioned the detainees denied that they had put hoods over suspects' heads or used loud music or water to torture the detainees.

These MIVD officers did however tell an officer at the British prison facility Camp Bucca in Basra that they had put pressure on a detainee using loud music and bucketfuls of water because he was lying. Swijgman subsequently reported the matter to The Hague. The justice department was notified, but no charges were pressed.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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