The Danish contingent in Iraq has suspended handing over prisoners to British forces following the reinstatement of capital punishment by the Iraqi government.
Danish soldiers, who operate under British command in Iraq, had previously handed over captured insurgents and suspected criminals to the custody of British forces, but have a preliminary agreement that the British will not hand them over to others without Danish consent.
“Until that loose agreement becomes more explicit, we’re making a suspension so we don’t risk ending up having the Iraqi government executing someone who was originally detained by Danish troops,” said defence spokesman Jakob Winther.
An explicit agreement will most likely be sorted out soon, he said. Britain, like Denmark, is obliged under the European Convention on Human Rights not to extradite prisoners who could face the death penalty, which is banned in the European Union.
Denmark’s 496 soldiers serve in Basra and nearby Qurnah in British-controlled southern Iraq.
The Iraqi government on Sunday reinstated capital punishment for people guilty of murder, endangering national security and distributing drugs, saying the death penalty was necessary to help put down the country’s growing insurgency.