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NATO forces exposing detainees to torture risk with Afghanistan transfers: Amnesty

[JURIST] The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) [official website], led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is exposing terrorism detainees to risks of torture by transferring NATO-held detainees into custody of Afghanistan authorities, Amnesty International [advocacy website] said in a report [text; press release] Monday. Amnesty's report focuses on actions by Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom, saying that ISAF forces from those countries have been transferring terror detainees to Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security, despite numerous reports of torture. Amnesty added that NATO forces have an obligation not to turn detainees over to countries likely to torture detainees. Amnesty called for ISAF to temporarily suspend all detainee transfers to Afghan authorities and for ISAF member countries to help reform the Afghan detention system. Amnesty also called for the Afghan government to make public their detention policies, to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Conventional Against Torture [text], to allow the UN Special Rapporteur on torture [official website] to visit Afghanistan, and to grant independent monitors unrestricted access to all Afghan detention centers.

Last month, Amnesty accused [JURIST report] the Canadian government of trying to derail a lawsuit over whether the Canadian Army [official website] in Afghanistan is transferring custody of detainees to Afghan forces to face torture by bogging down the lawsuit with a flurry of technical arguments. Amnesty International Canada and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association [advocacy websites] brought complaints against the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal [official website] in Federal court in February, alleging complicity in torture by Canadian personnel serving in Afghanistan as part of ISAF. In September, the Canadian Army said that independent investigators found no evidence to support allegations [JURIST reports] that the Army "may have aided or abetted the torture of detainees" by transferring them to Afghan custody. Canada's Federal Court ruled earlier this month that the two advocacy groups should be granted public interest standing [JURIST report] to seek judicial review of the Canadian military's actions. Reuters has more. The Canadian Press has additional coverage.

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