In 2006, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service approached Ali Ibrahim, a Danish citizen of Lebanese descent, with a proposal to become an informer.


Ali refused.


Ali and two other Muslim Danish citizens reveal for the first time how they were approached by the Danish intelligence services in the mid-2000s and how this landed them in Lebanon and some of the Middle East's most notorious detention facilities.


Their stories point to what could be a hidden role for Denmark and Lebanon in a new form of rendition: the outsourcing of torture.



Throughout the decades, Denmark had a very close cooperation with the US. This increased dramatically in the decade that came to be defined by the 9/11 attacks and the so-called global "war on terror".






In the mid-2000s, all three victims - Ali Ibrahim, Abu Abdullah and Hassan Jabbar were on the surveillance radar of the intelligence services.


Hassan was the first one to have an encounter with PET in 1997. As a volunteer cleric active with charities through his local mosque, he naturally had to deal with the Danish authorities.


He says, he was followed by PET officers on the streets of Copenhagen and was asked to come in for a "chat", which he refused to do.


In 2006, PET approached Ali Ibrahim with a proposal to become an informer for the agency; he refused.


Abu Abdullah was approached several times and interrogated in Denmark as well.


It was also in late 2006 that PET recruited Morten Storm to spy on the Muslim community in Denmark.





In 2006, Ali Ibrahim travelled to Lebanon after feeling intimidated by PET. At that time, one of his brothers, Saddam, was involved with the group calling itself Fatah Al Islam. He believes that his brother's connection made him an attractive and potential informer for the Danish intelligence service PET. In his book, Morten Storm says that in the spring of 2007, he was sent to Lebanon to inform on people of interest to PET. He claims to have met Saddam there.


After his arrival in Lebanon, Ali was repeatedly harassed and interrogated by the Lebanese authorities.


He believes that the harassment and arrests would not have happened if PET had not tipped off the Lebanese about him being a person of interest to them.


In May 2007, Ali says four armed men kidnapped him off the streets of Tripoli in front of his wife and children. He was subjected to eight months of solitary confinement, regular beatings, violent interrogations and torture. He spent almost three years in the Roumieh prison.


After his arrival in Lebanon, Ali was repeatedly harassed and interrogated by the Lebanese authorities. He believes this took place following a tip off from the Danish intelligence.





In 2007, Hassan travelled to Lebanon to visit his wife's family. He was taken right after he walked out of the plane in Beirut airport. He was then transferred to the detention facility run by the Lebanese Ministry of Defence, as he found out later.


He was accused of financing international terrorism and was held for a week under inhumane and cruel conditions. He says Lebanese officers interrogating him told him that the Danish authorities had requested his detention.


Hassan recounts how he was asked about people of different backgrounds living in Denmark, all of whom were Muslim; none had connections to Lebanon.


 He was eventually released after the intervention of a senior religious figure in Lebanon.





In 2010, Abu Abdullah went on a visit to Lebanon with his family. When he tried to go back to Copenhagen, the Lebanese authorities prevented him from travelling. Instead they sent him to a detention facility at the Ministry of Defence. There, he says, he was subjected to violent interrogation and torture for three weeks.


Because there were no charges against him, a Lebanese judge released him. However, the Lebanese security services did not let him leave the country, he says. After a year of challenging his travel ban with the help of a lawyer, Abu Abdullah managed to leave Lebanon and return to Denmark.






The US government approves a secret programme for renditions of alleged terror suspects.



he rendition of Talat Fouad Qasim (Abu Talal) takes place.



Danish intelligence services approach Hassan you should add "ahead of US President Bill Clinton's visit to Denmark.



Hassan approached again by the Danish intelligence services for "a chat" ahead of  King Hussein of Jordan's visit to Denmark.



Coordinated attacks on New York and Washington DC. US President George W Bush announces the start of the so-called "war on terror".




Danish newspaper publishes controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, sparking protests in many countries.



Danish intelligence services approach Hassan for a chat and Ali to recruit him to spy for the service.




JULY 2006

Israel-Hezbollah war starts.



UN brokers a ceasefire deal between Hezbollah and Israel and sends more peacekeepers to Lebanon.





Ali travels to Lebanon after harassment from PET intensifies.


DECEMBER 2006 - MAY 2007

Ali is arrested repeatedly by the Lebanese authorities.


MARCH 2007

Lebanese authorities detain Hassan at the Beirut airport.


APRIL 2007

PET sends Morten Storm to Lebanon to gather information on people of interest to the Danish intelligence services, according to his book. Storm claims that he met Saddam al-Hajdib, who he says was a member of Fatah Al Islam. Saddam was Ali's brother. He was killed later the same year in clashes with the Lebanese army.


MAY 2007

Fighting breaks out between the Lebanese army and Fatah AI-Islam in Naher Al Bared camp. Ali is arrested again.


JUNE 2007



Denmark sends peacekeepers to Lebanon as part of UNIFIL.



Ali is released.


JUNE 2010

Danish intelligence services approach Abu Abdullah to recruit him, but he refuses. He then travels to Lebanon, where he is arrested. He is soon released, but is banned from leaving the country.



Abu Abdullah is allowed to leave Lebanon.


JUNE 2013

Edward Snowden leaks NSA documents that reveal close intelligence cooperation between European countries and the US. Denmark is named as one of the countries in "Nine Eyes".



The United Nations releases a report criticising Lebanon for its use of "systematic torture".


7 JANUARY 2015

Brothers Chérif and Saïd Kouachi attack the office of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, killing 12 people.


12 JANUARY 2015


15 FEBRUARY 2015

 22-year-old Danish man attacks a Copenhagen synagogue and a cafe, where a meeting on "freedom of expression" was being held. He kills 2 people and is later shot dead by Danish police.



Lebanon was one of the countries where the backlash of the 2005 Prophet Mohamed cartoons was particularly strong. Protests turned violent and on February 5, 2006, the Danish embassy in Beirut was set on fire. This incident put Lebanon on the Danish intelligence radar.


In the mid-2000s Lebanon was also waging its own "war on terror". In May 2007, the Lebanese army launched an attack against an armed group calling itself Fatah Al Islam, which had taken control of the Palestinian refugee camp Nahr Al Bared. It was during this conflict that Ali's brother Saddam was killed.


Lebanon has also been open to cooperation with Western intelligence services. In an interview with Al Jazeera, then Minister of Interior Ziad Baroud said he never received any requests to interrogate European nationals.


He suggests that if any requests were ever made, they might have come to the Ministry of Justice. Al Jazeera went to interview the Minister of Justice at the time of the Nahr Al-Bared conflict, Charles Rizk. Diplomatic cables exposed on WikiLeaks put him at the heart of a political storm a few years ago.


It was alleged that he cooperated with the US in trying to find a loophole in local law so that Lebanese citizens could be extradited to the US. But told us that his ministry and the public prosecutor act upon information from the intelligence service. In the interview, Rizk refused to discuss his own role, denying any wrongdoing.



Out of 216 detainees interviewed, 99 said they had been subjected to torture by law enforcement officials and especially members of the Internal Security Forces (ISF) operating under the Ministry of Interior.


The committee concluded that "the penal system is dysfunctional" and that it allows impunity for perpetrators of torture. Ziad Baroud told Al Jazeera that torture might be taking place but that it is isolated. He says there are not direct orders to torture.


Al Jazeera obtained exclusive footage from Roumieh prison and a Skype interview with one of its inmates.



Ali says he was taken to an undisclosed location for a special interrogation on several occasions.



Ali's ordeal did not end in Lebanon with his release from prison. Upon his return to Copenhagen in 2010, he says two intelligence officers met him at the airport. He recounts how he was questioned and intimidated again.


According to Ali, one of the intelligence officers said to him, "We're different from them.  We interrogate differently", referring to the Lebanese intelligence.


Ali says, the officers then asked him what he would do to the Danish artist who drew the controversial Prophet Mohamed cartoons. Ali replied to them that he had a family to take care of. He says that before leaving the officers told him that they would "see each other" every week.


It started all over again: phone calls from secret numbers. Each week an officer calling himself Renee would phone him.


 Ali says he mentioned this to his doctor from the Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (RCT), which now goes by the name the of Dignity Institute.


The RCT refused to discuss Ali’s case, citing privacy concerns. Ali says the calls from PET stopped after he wrote a letter with the help of a doctor from the RCT.


He requested in the letter that PET would officially give him an appointment if they wanted anything from him. The calls stopped after Ali wrote this letter.

Five years after his release, Ali is still trying to find a lawyer to represent him. He still wonders why the Danish intelligence services approached him, and why the Lebanese released him without charges, only to convict him later in absentia and give him the death sentence in a terrorism-related case.


As for Hassan, he is looking for meaning in what happened to him. He has resumed his volunteer work as a cleric in Copenhagen. He says, his case is not isolated. He says many young people he knows told him that PET has offered them work as informers.  He says the intelligence community offered lots of money and social and bureaucratic services to the young men.


He has little faith in the justice system. When he returned to Denmark, he asked a few friends whether he should contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the intelligence services or even the media.


He was advised to forget about it because he is not of Danish origin. "It was a combination of fear and shock, which prevented me from opening a case." Only now has he opened up about his ordeal.


After all these years, Abu Abdullah says he is still afraid. He wants to protect his family by remaining anonymous.


Both Ali and Abu Abdullah say they are terrified when they travel .



Juan E. Méndez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, tells Al Jazeera that the rule of law is the only way to fight terror. He says he cannot comment on these specific cases relating to Lebanon and Denmark.


However, he told us that a lot remains hidden from the days of the so-called "war on terror" and extraordinary renditions.


He calls on all countries to open up investigations into any misconduct on torture-related cases, especially Arab League states. Juan stresses that the challenge for human rights advocates is that a lot of the intelligence work takes place in secrecy.


He says only a handful of nations responded to UN request for investigations.  Himself a victim of torture, he says that the world is more accepting of torture today than when he was tortured decades ago.






Victor Madrigal-Borloz is Secretary-General of International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), a health-based umbrella organisation that supports the rehabilitation of torture victims and the prevention of torture worldwide.


A Costa Rican jurist, Victor has over 18 years of experience as a human rights advocate.


He is a member of the UN Subcommittee for Prevention of Torture.


Victor says that torture never yields good results. Instead it creates suffering and trauma, and it does not yield good intelligence.






Professor Bent Sorensen, and his wife Inge Genefke are leading members of the global anti-torture movement and have for decades been at the forefront in the efforts for rehabilitation of victims of torture.


Sorensen says it is hard to change perceptions and attitudes on torture. Despite decades-long campaigns, there is still a prevalent belief that torture yields results.






Tue Magnussen is a longtime activist campaigning against torture. He says Denmark has compromised its role as a leading country in the fight against torture.


He blames the "war on terror" and the global intelligence community.






Independent journalist Fidaa Itani talks about the Nahr Al Bared conflict, the torching of the Danish embassy in Lebanon, and the Danish government’s concerns in Lebanon.


Fidaa has covered conflicts in the Middle East extensively. Over the years, he has gained expert knowledge of armed groups in the Middle East.


Fidaa was himself kidnapped by a small Syrian rebel group a few years back and later released. He is one of several people whom Danish officials met during the backlash on the cartoon crisis in 2006.


He believes an intelligence officer was part of the delegation. The officials wanted to understand what they called "Islamist threat" to Danish interests. Fidaa says that Denmark, like many other Western countries, had an exaggerated perception of the Islamist landscape.






Al Jazeera obtained these exclusive pictures from inside Lebanon's Roumieh Prison. The pictures were taken on a mobile phone by inmates.


They show the squalid conditions of the infamous Block B.


The inmates who used to be in Block B have since been moved to another block in the prison.

Al Jazeera has obtained documents proving that Ali was tortured severely.

One of the documents is a report from the Lebanese Centre for Human Rights. It details Ali's prison experience in Lebanon. This report was sent to the Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims recommending further treatment.


Among the documents Ali provided is his medical record. It include reports from a Danish hospital stating he was subject to torture. Doctor appointments show he was treated for ailments resulting from the torture, including scabies, teeth decay, urological complications and chronic shoulder and back pain.


Ali now has to wear a shoe insert for life as a result of the beatings.