The federal government has suspended a international assist mission after a BBC Panorama investigation discovered taxpayers’ money was being diverted to extremists in Syria.
Officers from a UK-backed police pressure in Syria have additionally been working with courts finishing up brutal sentences.
A UK authorities spokesman stated it takes allegations of co-operation with terrorist teams “extraordinarily significantly”.
Adam Smith Worldwide, the British firm operating the mission, stated it strongly denies the allegations.
The Free Syrian Police (FSP) was arrange following the rebellion in Syria, to deliver legislation and order to components of the nation that had been managed by opposition forces.
Adam Smith Worldwide (ASI) has been operating the mission since October 2014.
Britain was one among six donor nations paying for the mission, which gives neighborhood policing to the rebel-held areas of Aleppo, Idlib and Daraa provinces.
It’s meant to be an unarmed civilian police pressure, and never co-operate with extremist teams, however Panorama has discovered examples the place that was not the case. A few of Panorama’s allegations towards the mission embody:
- Police cooperating with courts that perform abstract executions – together with a case the place two ladies had been stoned to dying
- Police being paid in money after which being pressured handy over funds to an extremist group controlling the realm
- Cops being handpicked by an extremist group
- Lifeless and fictitious persons are on the police payroll
Overseas Secretary Boris Johnson introduced in April that the UK would commit an additional £four million to the UK-funded Entry to Justice and Neighborhood Safety (AJACS) scheme that helps the FSP.
ASI says the FSP is an unarmed neighborhood police pressure that brings the rule of legislation and security to thousands and thousands of individuals in a war-torn nation.
An ASI spokesman stated it “strongly refutes Panorama’s allegations”.
“Now we have managed taxpayers’ cash successfully to confront terrorism, deliver safety to Syrian communities and mitigate the appreciable dangers of working in a conflict zone,” he stated.
“ASI has managed the mission efficiently alongside our companion in a particularly difficult, high-risk setting underneath the shut supervision of the Overseas and Commonwealth Workplace and 5 different governments.”
The corporate says it makes use of money to fund the police as a result of there is no such thing as a sensible various – and that the British authorities is conscious of the funds.
Panorama has obtained ASI paperwork that present lifeless and fictitious folks had been on the police payroll.
One police station in Koknaya in Idlib province was purported to be the bottom for 57 law enforcement officials. However the paperwork present that when ASI’s workers visited in September 2016, they could not discover a single officer.
ASI stated officers had been accounted for on subsequent visits. The corporate has now suspended the fee of all salaries on the Koknaya police station.
It stated it had recognized only a few examples throughout Syria the place deceased officers had remained on the wage listing.
The paperwork additionally present how some law enforcement officials in Aleppo province had been pressured handy over money to the extremist group – Nour al-Din al-Zinki – accountable for the realm.
An ASI report from July 2016 warned that 20% of all police salaries had been being handed over “to pay for the army and safety assist that Zinki gives to the 5 FSP stations positioned areas underneath its management”.
In addition to handing over a lower of British assist cash to Zinki, the police had additionally labored with a Zinki court docket “by writing up warrants, delivering notices, and turning criminals over to the court docket”.
The police cooperation has continued regardless of allegations of torture and abstract executions involving the court docket at al-Qasimiyeh.
Tory MP Crispin Blunt, former chair of the Overseas Affairs Committee, stated the FSP shouldn’t be supporting extremist courts.
He stated: “You’ve got bought folks being sentenced to dying for homosexuality.
“Clearly that’s utterly and totally unacceptable by any customary and the concept British taxpayers’ cash was related to that will after all be wholly abhorrent.”
ASI says it has strict pointers in place to make sure detainees are handled pretty and humanely, and that funds to the police stations which had been paying Zinki had been stopped in August 2016. It says donor governments had been stored absolutely knowledgeable.
Panorama additionally found that the Free Syrian Police offered assist for courts run by the Syrian department of al-Qaeda – Jabhat al-Nusra – which handed out excessive punishments.
Cops had been current when two ladies had been stoned to dying close to Sarmin in December 2014. Sources have informed Panorama the officers closed the highway in order that the execution might happen.
ASI says the law enforcement officials who attended the stoning weren’t formally underneath FSP management and have since been eliminated.
Panorama has additionally seen proof that al-Nusra handpicked law enforcement officials in two stations in Idlib province.
ASI says that the officers imposed by al-Nusra had been detected in underneath two months and that funds to the station had been then stopped.
The corporate says the funds in query solely amounted to $1,800 (£1,340) and didn’t come from British authorities funds. However ASI did not clarify how they may ensure when the entire mission is funded by money.
A UK authorities spokesman stated: “We take any allegations of co-operation with terrorist teams and of human rights abuses extraordinarily significantly and the Overseas Workplace has suspended this programme whereas we examine these allegations.
“We imagine that such work in Syria is necessary to guard our nationwide safety curiosity however after all we attain this judgment rigorously on condition that in such a difficult setting no exercise is with out danger.
“That is why all our programmes are designed rigorously and topic to strong monitoring.”
You’ll be able to see extra on this story on Panorama, Jihadis You Pay For on BBC One at 7.30pm on Monday four December and afterwards on iPlayer.