Canada stops Afghan detainee transfers because of torture

This video says about itself:

Transferring to Torture: Canada, Human Rights, and Detainees

Professor Micheal Byers analyzes the role of the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan, and how it violated the Geneva Convention against torture.

From Associated Press:

Canada Stops Afghan Detainee Transfers


January 23, 2008

The Canadian government stopped transferring prisoners in Afghanistan to local Afghan authorities after witnessing evidence of torture, according to a newly released government letter.

The disclosure that Canada stopped handing prisoners over in November comes a year after Canada’s Conservative government ridiculed its opponents for raising torture allegations and Prime Minister Stephen Harper accused them of being pro-Taliban.

The abrupt shift was divulged in a letter submitted this week by government lawyers to a pair of human rights organizations that have launched a case in Federal Court. Amnesty International and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association released the letter late Wednesday.

A prisoner told Canadian officials he had been beaten unconscious, whipped with electrical cables, and belted with a rubber hose at the National Directorate of Security detention facility in Kandahar city in Afghanistan. The NDS is the domestic intelligence agency of the government of Afghanistan.

The prisoner told the Canadians exactly where they could find the torture instruments and led them to his prison cell where they discovered the hose and cable under a chair. He showed the Canadians a four-inch bruise on his back. He said he could not recall who interrogated him because he was knocked unconscious.

That Nov. 5 account is one of numerous allegations of torture included in government documents filed in advance of a Federal Court appearance Thursday. Another one describes electrocution.

Civil libertarians and opposition parties have warned that Canada could be violating the Geneva Conventions by turning over captives to Afghan authorities with the knowledge they could be tortured.

Amnesty International and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association have sued Ottawa in an effort to block further transfers; and the resulting court documents are the only reason Canada’s policy shift has come to light.

13 thoughts on “Canada stops Afghan detainee transfers because of torture

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