COPENHAGEN: Legal experts on Tuesday questioned whether Denmark’s PET intelligence agency broke Danish law after an ex-agent said he helped it locate an Al-Qaeda operative who was later killed by a drone in Yemen.
Ex-PET agent Morten Storm, 36, came forward over the weekend and claimed he helped PET estabish the whereabouts of Anwar al-Awlaki last year for the US Central Intelligence Agency.
An American drone killed Awlaki, a US citizen, and several other Al-Qaeda fighters on September 30 last year in northern Yemen.
Legal experts in Denmark suggested PET may have acted illegally by helping the CIA kill a suspect, instead of arresting him and putting him on trial.
The fact that two of those killed were American citizens sparked a debate in the US and elsewhere over the legality of a government killing its own citizens without trial.
Gorm Toftegaard Nielsen, a professor of criminal justice at Aarhus University, told AFP on Tuesday that Danish authorities such as PET must follow Danish law.
“According to Danish law, if you want to kill someone, but cannot find him, and I give you information about his whereabouts, I will be an accomplice,” he said.
“It is a delicate matter, because parliament is in the midst of adopting a new law regarding supervision of PET,” he added.
Anders Henriksen, head of the Centre for International Law and Justice (CILJ) at the University of Copenhagen, wrote on Tuesday in the Danish daily Information that under international law, “the legality of PET’s actions greatly depend upon whether Denmark is part of an armed conflict against Al-Qaeda.” Only during armed conflict would Denmark be allowed to kill suspected terrorists such as Awlaki, he added.
PET director Jakob Scharf has denied the allegations.
In a statement issued on Monday, he said that when cooperating with authorities in other countries, PET “is extremely attentive towards not supplying information or acting in a way that in itself could permit an operation with the aim of killing a civilian.”