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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 August, 2004, 23:49 GMT 00:49 UK
Abuse claims rock Danish military
Iraqi prisoners
There have been a number of cases of prisoner abuse
Denmark's defence minister has recalled several senior commanders of its battalion in Iraq, as an investigation into alleged prisoner abuse widens.

Soeren Gade said there were doubts about the officers' judgement, stemming from claims of mistreatment made against an intelligence officer.

The Danish army said on Tuesday that more soldiers were now being investigated over the allegations.

Correspondents say the scandal has sent shockwaves through Danish society.

Most Danes support their government's backing of the US-led coalition and the sending of 500 troops to Iraq, they say.

The affair coincides with a US military court hearing the case of Private Lynndie England, accused of alleged prisoner abuse.

Such incidents by US and UK troops in Iraq were widely reported earlier this year.

Torture

Mr Gade said the battalion's commander, Col Henrik Flach, and executive officer Col Poul Erik Andersen had been recalled. No replacements have been named.

"There may be doubt about the leadership's judgment and I have therefore decided to send home the commanders," he told Danish TV.

A statement by the military command on Monday said the officer, who has not been named, could face charges of torture.

Reports say the officer is accused of refusing to let prisoners have water and forcing them to stay in stressful positions.

The Danish military's statement followed newspaper claims that Danish soldiers had reported their colleague after they disagreed with his interrogation methods.

The Ekstra Bladet newspaper said the officer had forced prisoners to sit in "a stressful position for long periods of time".

The officer was ordered to return to Denmark two weeks ahead of schedule.

The case is the second investigation of alleged prisoner abuse by Danish soldiers in Iraq.

In May a Danish soldier was reprimanded for using his rifle to push a prisoner who had made an obscene gesture.





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