Amnesty International called on NATO defence ministers as they meet in Lithuania to suspend all transfers of detainees from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to Afghan authorities on the grounds that detainees face substantial risk of torture and ill-treatment. The International community must engage more seriously in the reform of the detention sector in Afghanistan.
These grave concerns were set out in AI’s report of 13 November 2007: Afghanistan Detainees transferred to torture: ISAF complicity? (Ref ASA 11/011/2007), which details allegations of torture and other ill-treatment suffered by detainees after being handed to the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s intelligence service, by Canadian NATO troops.
Canadian government reports released as part of a court case in Canada have shown that Canadian forces have known about allegations of torture, including against the Governor of Kandahar, since mid-2007.
It was also revealed that Canadian forces stopped transfers in November 2007. However Canada has refused to explain their new procedures for handling detainees. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has called for access to monitor detainees held by Canadian forces who have not been transferred to Afghan authorities. AI understands that Canadian forces are currently holding more than 18 detainees.
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