Military saw Afghan abuse pics in 2005, says officer

A Danish officer says the military has been sitting on pictures showing the abuse of Afghani prisoners by American soldiers for five years. According to reports on the information provided to the Parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee by defence minister Gitte Lillelund-Bech, the senior army official said he viewed the “Abu Ghraib-like” images on a CD in 2005.

The disc, which is thought to contain photographs similar to those showing American soldiers abusing prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, is now being searched for by the Judge Advocate’s office.

A military interpreter, who served with the Danish army in Afghanistan in 2002 and was seconded to the American Special Forces for three weeks, is said to be the owner of the CD. He claims it was during his time in the war-torn country that he witnessed the torture of the prisoners-of-war.

According to reports, the interpreter told his superiors about the abuse and repeated his claims to General Jesper Helso, the head of Danish defence at the time, on his return home. When the Judge Advocate’s office investigated the claims in 2005, however, no proof of the allegations was found.

The officer, who is acting as a go-between for the interpreter and the military, has now reported the existence of the CD to the Junior Counsel to the Treasury. According to information given by the officer, the Danish military has known about the pictures for five years but has failed to make their content public.

Information about the disc was provided to the authorities as part of preparations for an action for damages at the Eastern High Court. An Afghan is suing the Defence Ministry as he claims he suffered maltreatment at Camp Kandahar in 2002 when Danish forces transferred him into American custody.