Danish Medics Reported Seeing Tortured Iraqis.

Danish army medics in Iraq saw two prisoners at a British field hospital who had been beaten, one of them to death, the Danish Defense Ministry said on Friday.

The incident was reported to British officials in September.

Danish troops serve under British command in southern Iraq, where two unnamed medics said that last September in Basra two Iraqi prisoners were brought in with signs of having suffered "rough treatment during an unauthorized interrogation in the field by a British unit," said a ministry statement.

"According to the information, one of the Iraqis was later to die of his injuries," the ministry said.

Britain and its ally the United States are struggling to contain a growing scandal over abuse of Iraqi prisoners.

Danish Defense Minister Soren Gade told local television the British military had agreed to provide information about the incident, which was reported immediately to a Danish army lawyer back in September but was not reported to Copenhagen.

The Danish legal officer contacted British authorities and was told the incident was already being investigated.

"Because no Danish soldiers were involved, the episode was not reported back home," said Gade, promising to find out why the report was not followed up and to keep track of the British investigation into the incident.

Two weeks ago, Britain's Independent newspaper published a witness statement from an Iraqi engineer who said he had been beaten by British soldiers over three days in September 2003. One of the men arrested with him, hotel receptionist Baha Musa, died of his injuries, he said.

NATO-member Denmark is a steadfast U.S. ally in the war but Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said earlier this week extraordinary measures must be taken to restore confidence in the Arab world following the prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq.

The Danish parliament is expected to take a formal decision to extend its mission in Iraq and alleviate pressure on British troops in Basra in late May.

[Source: By Kim McLaughlin, Reuters, Copenhagen, 14May04]

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