May 16, 2007 / 2:37 PM / 12 years ago

Dutch soldiers abused Iraqi prisoners: report

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Three Dutch military intelligence officers may have broken interrogation rules in 2003 while questioning prisoners in Iraq, Dutch television program NOVA said.

NOVA said it obtained excerpts of an independent committee’s report prepared for the Dutch Ministry of Defense describing the use of head covers and electrodes during questioning.

A committee spokesman declined to confirm or deny the NOVA report, aired late on Tuesday, but added he “had ideas” about how parts of the committee’s report may have been leaked.

A Defense Ministry spokesman said the ministry would comment when the committee’s report was published in mid-June.

The ministry ordered an independent inquiry last November after a newspaper reported that Dutch military intelligence abused prisoners in Iraq in 2003 by hosing them with water to keep them awake and exposing them to bright light.

Former Major Micha Geeratz, a legal advisor monitoring interrogations in Iraq at the time, told NOVA that unsupervised questioning took place in the Iraqi city of As Sawamah.

“I had the feeling then that things would happen that could not bear the light of day,” Geeratz said in the program aired late on Tuesday.

One Iraqi prisoner who complained to British authorities in Iraq about mistreatment had mentioned the use of water, sound, electrodes, and head coverings during interrogations, Geeratz said. He estimated that 5 to 10 people could have been interrogated without supervision.

Former Dutch Minister of Defense, Henk Kamp, has said that in October 2003, two months after Dutch troops first arrived in Iraq, 15 suspects were interrogated by military intelligence and security officers but that no punishable actions had taken place.

But the independent committee was established last November and some politicians drew parallels with the uproar over abuse by U.S. soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Since then, scandals have also erupted in Britain and Germany over the behavior of their troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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