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Australian PM mum on claims government knew of abuse in Iraq

[JURIST] Australian Prime Minister John Howard [official website] has refused to respond to charges by a former intelligence officer that the Australian government knew of abuses by coalition troops in Iraq, despite claims to the contrary. Rod Barton, formerly an officer with the Defense Intelligence Organization [official website], said he saw evidence [JURIST report] of abuse during his tenure and he notified the Defense Department. Barton said he came forward with his claims after Howard and other government officials publicly said that Australian troops were not involved in prisoner interrogation or abuse in Iraq. Barton said evidence he saw of abuse came from Camp Cropper in Iraq, where high-value prisoners have been held. Howard was questioned on the abuse allegations during Question Time, but he refused to answer, telling MPs that Defense Department officials would respond to questions Wednesday. Read a transcript [text, PDF] from today's question period. Howard has maintained that Australian troops were not involved in detaining Iraqi prisoners. Australian Broadcasting Corporation News has more.

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