Main Menu
Human Trafficking
Street Children

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                            

Kingdom of Denmark

People in Denmark are generally free from violent crime and physical abuse by state authorities

[Freedom House Country Report, 2018]

Description: Description: Denmark

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Denmark.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on Denmark

Executive Summary, 7 January 2020

[accessed 31 May 2020]

Regrettably, no other substantial improvements have been made since the CPT’s 2014 visit to strengthen the safeguards afforded to persons deprived of their liberty by the police. Consequently, the Committee must reiterate its recommendations made in this regard, notably as concerns the right of  all  detained  persons  (including  persons  detained  under  the  Aliens  Act)  to  be  granted  effective access  to  a  lawyer  as  from  the  very  outset  of  their  deprivation  of  liberty.  The  Committee  also recommends that, given their particular vulnerability, juveniles deprived of their liberty by the police should never be subjected to police questioning or be requested to make any statement or to sign any document concerning the offence(s) they are suspected of having committed without the presence of a lawyer and, in principle, a trusted adult.

Denmark ordered to compensate Iraqi civilians over torture

Agence France-Presse AFP, Stockholm, Gulf News, 16 June 2018

[accessed 17 June 2018]

Though the Danish soldiers did not join in the torture, they failed to prevent the abuse, court says

A Danish court ordered the government on Friday to compensate 18 civilians who were tortured during the Iraq war in an operation carried out by Iraqi security forces along with a Danish battalion.

In total, 23 plaintiffs had sued Denmark after they were arrested and subjected to “torture and inhumane treatment” in 2004 during operation “Green Desert” near Iraq’s main port city of Basra.

The appeals court in Copenhagen ruled that although the Danish soldiers did not join in the torture, they failed to prevent the abuse.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Denmark

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 16 July 2021]


It reported a few isolated allegations of excessive use of force, such as the person having been violently pushed to the ground or tightly handcuffed, and of threatening behavior by police officers, for example, officers pointing a firearm at the head of the person at the time of apprehension.

The Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) reported an increased use of force in prisons. It also noted an exponential increase in the use of prolonged solitary confinement as a disciplinary measure against convicted prisoners over the previous five years–705 instances of more than 14 days in 2019, compared with seven instances in 2015.


In its January 7 report, the CPT stated that prisoners complained about access to the toilet (both during the day and at night) at the Copenhagen Police Headquarters Prison and at the Odense Remand Prison. In the Copenhagen City Police Station, the Nykobing Falster Police Station, and the Odense Police Headquarters, it observed a lack of access to natural light and insufficient artificial lighting in the cells. In addition, ventilation was poor in the cells of the Nykobing Falster Police Station.


The Ellebaek prison, operated by the Prison and Probation Service, held 117 rejected asylum seekers who were considered flight risks but had not committed other crimes. The CPT report deemed both the prison and the Nykobing Falster Holding Center as unsuitable for residents. The head of the CPT delegation stated that residents were kept in prison-like conditions with poor sanitary conditions. The report described harsh punishments, including 15 days of solitary confinement, for possessing a mobile telephone.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 12 May 2020]


People in Denmark are generally free from violent crime and physical abuse by state authorities.

DIGNITY - Danish Institute Against Torture

[accessed 23 May 2018]

We fight for a world free from torture and help victims of torture to a better life

ABOUT DIGNITY - DIGNITY is headquartered in Denmark, but cooperates with partner organizations in about twenty other countries.

We were founded in 1982 by doctor Inge Genefke. As one of the first, we focused on the need for specialized treatment for victims of torture, and DIGNITY (or Rehabilitation and research Center for Torture victims, as it was called back then) became one of the first torture rehabilitation centers in the world.

Today we work both politically, juridically and medically. We fight for a world without torture and offer torture victims the vital rehabilitation they need.

We work with and based on recognized international human rights standards and conventions, including the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Istanbul Protocol, the Nelson Mandela Rules, and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Therapy For Torture Victims Has Surprising Economic Benefit, Study Says

Melody Schreiber, Goats and Soda, National Public Radio NPR, 22 May 2018

[accessed 23 May 2018]

Every month, about 300 refugees apply for asylum in Denmark, seeking shelter from conflicts and persecution in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and elsewhere. And many of them need help beyond finding a new home.

A 2013 study calculated that 30 percent of refugees in high-income host countries have experienced torture; about 150 refugees seek treatment at the Danish Institute Against Torture every year.

Denmark Accused of 'Outsourcing' Torture to Lebanon

teleSUR, 18 June 2015

[accessed 25 Aug 2015]

[accessed 31 December 2018]

Danish authorities have been accused of torturing at least three individuals abroad, including one man who says he was kidnapped in broad daylight after refusing to spy on behalf of the country's Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET), according to reports Wednesday.

When Ibrahim turned down the overtures and said he would leave Denmark, he alleged a PET agent told him, “Where do think you will go? We have friends all over the world. Do you want to go to Lebanon? We have friends there too.”

A year later, Ibrahim alleged he was kidnapped during a visit to Lebanon, and subsequently tortured and held in a Lebanese prison.

“The brutal torture I received was not the worst. Some experience much harsher torture methods. I consider myself lucky. Others were raped,” he stated.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/CR/28/1 (2002)

[accessed 27 February 2013]

C. Subjects of concern

6. The Committee is concerned about the following:

a) The lack of a definition of torture, as provided in article 1 of the Convention, in the penal legislation of the State party and the lack of a specific offence of torture punishable by appropriate penalties, as required by article 4, paragraph 2, of the Convention;

(b) The lack of effective recourse procedures against decisions imposing solitary confinement upon persons servicing sentence;

(c) The proposed amendment to the Alien's Act, which may imply that aliens who have been refused a residence permit leave the country immediately after the rejection of their application. If strictly applied this will frustrate the effectiveness of article 22 of the Convention.

D. Recommendations

7. The Committee recommends that:

(a) The State party ensure the speedy implementation of the recommendation of the Ad Hoc Committee with regard to incorporating the Convention into Danish domestic law;

(b) Denmark establish adequate penal provisions to make torture as defined in article 1 of the Convention a punishable offence in accordance with article 4, paragraph 2, of the Convention;

(c) The State party should continue to monitor the effects of solitary confinement on detainees and the effects of the new bill, which has reduced the number of grounds that can give raise to solitary confinement and its length;

(d) The law governing solitary confinement for convicted prisoners should establish adequate review mechanisms relating to its determination and duration;

(e) The State party should ensure that the proposed Amendment to the Aliens Act does not frustrate effective recourse to article 22 of the Convention for aliens;

(f) The State party widely disseminate the Committee's conclusions and recommendations, in all appropriate languages, in the country.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015

POLICE AND SECURITY FORCES - In August, the director of the Independent Police Complaints Authority stated that a considerable number of complaints against the police had to be closed without further action being taken because it was not possible to identify the officers involved. As a result, several politicians called for police officers to wear identity numbers on their uniform – a suggestion opposed by heads of police.


For current articles:: Search Amnesty International Website

[accessed 31 December 2018]

Scroll Down


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 24 January 2013]

[accessed 3 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices, and there were no reports that government officials employed them.

In 2004 military authorities charged one active reserve member of its armed forces with dereliction of duty related to her allegedly improper interrogation of detainees. Military authorities also charged the commanding officer and three other soldiers in connection with the case. Court proceedings were ongoing at year's end.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 1   Civil Liberties: 1   Status: Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 24 January 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 12 May 2020]

The judiciary is independent, and citizens enjoy full due-process rights. The court system consists of 100 local courts, two high courts, and the 15-member Supreme Court, with judges appointed by the monarch on the government’s recommendation. A 2007 report by the International Commission of Jurists found ethnic bias in “a limited scope” of Danish court rulings and suggested mandatory training courses on discrimination for judges and lawyers. Prisons generally meet international standards. Police brutality became an issue in February 2008, however, when a week of rioting in mostly immigrant neighborhoods in Denmark’s largest cities were apparently touched off by the alleged police beating of an immigrant youth.

Response of the Danish Government to the report of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) on its visit to Denmark from 4 to 13 February 2014

Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 3 March 2015

[accessed 31 March 2015]

[accessed 24 July 2017]

[accessed 30 December 2017]

The Danish Government has requested the publication of this response.  The CPT’s report on the February 2014 visit to Denmark is set out in document CPT/Inf (2014) 25.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES. 

Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Denmark",, [accessed <date>]