New allegations over Navy in Iraq
A new row has emerged involving Dutch troops in southern Iraq today with allegations in the Volkskrant that members of the navy intimidated their military police colleagues to prevent them from reporting misbehavior in 2003.
According to the paper at least one military policeman was threatened with death by navy personnel. He was sent back to the Netherlands with ‘stress’, the paper claims.
It is also claimed that the navy raided Iraqi homes although they were not authorised to do so. Military police staff were warned in strong language not to report the transgressions.
The allegations are, says the Volkskrant, contained a confidential letter from the military police chief Cees Neisingh dated 18 November 2003.
Today’s news comes less than a week after the Volkskrant revealed that Dutch soldiers mistreated – some go as far as saying ‘tortured’ – Iraqi prisoners in the same period.
Tensions between the various Dutch troops in Iraq were running high, said Neisingh in his letter to Luuk Kroon, Chief of Defence Staff. But he added: ‘Luckily the cracks are being kept away from visiting dignitaries, journalists, MPs, members of the Chief Defence Staff and commanders.’
Defence minister Henk Kamp has denied the torture claim. A parliamentary debate on the issue has been postponed until after today’s election and is scheduled for Tuesday.
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