Canadian Military Police Cleared Over Tortured Taliban Prisoners
The Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) has cleared Canadian military police officers of any wrongdoing in the investigation that Canada handed suspected Taliban prisoners over to Afghan police knowing they would be tortured.
The MPCC has been investigating charges by diplomat Richard Colvin that the Canadian military had handed detained prisoners over to the Afghan police knowing they would be tortured for information since 2007.
The commission found that the soldiers are not culpable because their superiors kept the allegations of torture from them and they therefore had no reason to think twice about handing over detainees. The report states that there were many documents indicating that torture was a risk of mistreatment, but those documents were classified at higher levels than military police could ever access.
The investigation has caused nasty fights in the House of Commons and accusations of war crimes on both sides. When Colvin brought the issue forward, he was attacked by the Harper government, who questioned his abilities and accused him of spreading Taliban lies.
The MPCC also notes in their report that the government’s response to the investigation was unreasonable. Their refusal to provide certain documents to the commission created delays and obstacles: “…the doors were basically slammed shut on document disclosure” between March 2008 and November 2009. The government also blocked witnesses from speaking at the hearing and removed information from documents for “national security.”
Peter MacKay, the Minister of National Defense during this time period, may be one of the ministers shuffled out this summer.
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