Denmark scours WikiLeaks papers for Danish troop misdeeds
Denmark's military said Sunday it would study hundreds of thousands of leaked US military documents on the war in Iraq amid reports that the classified files reveal wrongdoings by Danish soldiers.
"We want to see the documents for ourselves and compare them to our own information," Danish Defence Command spokesman Torben Kjedsen told AFP.
Late Friday, whistleblower website WikiLeaks published nearly 400,000 classified US military documents on the war in Iraq, presenting a grim snapshot of the conflict, especially of the abuse of Iraqi civilians by Iraqi security forces.
According to Danish media, the documents reveal how Danish troops deployed in Iraq between 2003 and 2007 had among other things handed over 62 prisoners to Iraqi authorities, despite warnings that the prisoners would very likely face abusive treatment and torture while in police custody.
"While the Danish government has spoken of promoting human rights in Iraq, the leaked documents indicate that the Danish troops have in fact made possible serious human rights violations in the war-torn country," reported news website Information.dk, which had advance access to the files.
Danish troops, who were stationed in the southern Iraqi city of Basra for four years under British command, also appear to have been partly to blame for letting Al-Qaeda's since killed frontman in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, slip through their fingers in 2005, Information.dk reported.
British and Danish troops apparently had a clear opportunity to capture Zarqawi on March 17, 2005, but failed to do so after the helicopter sent after him was forced to turn back to refuel, according to the website's review of the leaked documents.
Zarqawi, who orchestrated a bloody campaign of attacks and beheadings of hostages, was killed in an air strike on June 7, 2006.
The Danish military has said it will not comment on the reports until it has had a chance to review the documents.
Danish Defence Minister Gitte Lillelund Bech said she was pleased the military would go through the leaked files.
"This will contribute to providing an overview of the material ... and will of course identify relevant information about episodes where Danish troops have been involved," she said in a statement.
© 2010 AFP