Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Canadian soldiers alleged abuse of prisoners

Alleged abuse of prisoners
Toronto Star OTTAWA (Feb 6, 2007)

Two separate investigations are under way into a complaint that up to three prisoners suffered injuries while in the custody of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.

The allegation, if substantiated, could rock military morale and further undermine public support for Canada's dangerous -- and controversial -- mission in Kandahar.

While the injuries in this incident don't appear to be life-threatening, the allegations of abuse could evoke memories of a dark chapter for the Canadian military -- the ill-fated 1993 mission to Somalia where Canadian troops took trophy pictures of their captives and were charged in the torture death of a Somali, Shidane Arone, 16.

Questions are being asked about how as many as three unidentified men suffered injuries to their upper body while being detained by Canadian soldiers in the Kandahar region in late April 2006. And invest-igators want to know why the military police officers who eventually took charge of the detainees didn't do their own probe of the injuries.

For their part, Canadian defence officials were tight-lipped yesterday but more details could emerge today when they formally respond to the Military Police Complaints Commission, an independent civilian body.