Canada limiting probe into Afghan detainee abuse allegations

[JURIST] The government of Canada [JURIST news archive], currently investigating whether detainees in Afghanistan were abused while in Canadian custody [JURIST report], will not make inquiries into allegations of torture or abuse after the detainees were transferred to Afghan officials [JURIST report], according to Monday reports. Lieutenant-Commander Philip Anido, a spokesman for the board of inquiry in charge of the probe, said the board was only convened to "make findings and recommendations up to the point when our soldiers transfer detainees to Afghan authorities." The Canadian government has been deeply embroiled in controversy over the torture issue since the Toronto Globe and Mail reported [text] in April that thirty terror suspects were tortured by Afghan security forces after being transferred from the custody of Canadian troops belonging to NATO's International Security Assistance Force for Afghanistan (ISAF) [official website] mission. The detainees gave accounts of being beaten, electrocuted, starved, and left in freezing temperatures while detained in Kandahar province jails. The Toronto Globe and Mail has more.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) announced in April [JURIST report] that it will investigate allegations of human rights violations committed by Afghan prison officials. The announcement came after a Canadian human rights group made allegations that Canada has been violating international law by allowing detainees initially held in Canadian custody to be turned over to Afghan forces, where they suffer abuse. Last month, Canada signed a new detainee transfer agreement [JURIST report] with the Afghan government allowing for monitoring of prisoners transferred from Canadian to Afghan custody as a safeguard against torture and abuse. In related news, the ISAF announced Monday that it will investigate allegations that American and Afghan forces abused a suspect in Afghanistan earlier this month. German magazine Focus [media website] correspondent Wolfgang Bauer reported [text, in German] that he had witnessed soldiers abuse a suspect apprehended during a search for Taliban fighters, threatening to drag him behind a vehicle if he did not comply. According to Bauer, the suspect was not dragged and was released. Reuters has more.

 

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