Ottawa tries to cover-up role in torture of Afghan prisoners

Posted: November 14, 2008 in Uncategorized

Photo: John D. McHugh/AFP/Getty Images. Soldiers from the 1st Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry handcuff and search a suspected Taliban prisoner. Ottawa revealed that it stopped the transfer of Afghan detainees in November. Caption: National Post, Oct. 3, 2008

Like a mangy cat with diarrhea, the federal government is trying, so far unsucessfully, to cover up its role in the torture of prisoners taken by Canadian troops in Afghanistan. According to the Canadian Press:

The federal government wants the courts to block public hearings into the transfer of Afghan detainees.

At issue is whether Canadian soldiers were ordered to transfer prisoners to Afghan security, despite knowing the detainees would likely be tortured.

The government had promised full co-operation, but is now asking the Federal Court to outlaw the hearings.

Government lawyers say the independent Military Police Complaints Commission can only investigate individual cases of tortured prisoners.

They want a court order barring the agency from probing allegations that transferred prisoners were tortured and that Canadian officials knew it would happen.

Commission chairman Peter Tinsley ordered the public hearings last spring, saying it was the only way to ensure a full investigation of the allegations.

“It’s troubling and disappointing, but not at all surprising, that the government is again trying to obstruct the holding of a public hearing,” said Alex Neve, secretary-general of Amnesty International Canada told the Globe and Mail. “They are always looking for ways to avoid transparency and accountability.”

There have been several instances of Canadian soldiers refusing to turn over prisoners to Afghan security for fear they would be tortured.

But the federal government has refused to say how many prisoners it has turned over and whether it can account for all of them.

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