Monday, April 4, 2011

Cons try to gag report on Afghan prisoners

Feds accused of trying to muzzle commission report into Afghan torture

The Canadian Press: The Conservative government quietly went to Federal Court last week hoping to impose limits on what a military watchdog can say in its final report into torture allegations involving Afghan prisoners. The Military Police Complaints Commission is currently reviewing evidence and writing its report after hearings into allegations that army cops turned a blind eye to suspected abuse in Afghan jails...

The government wants to exclude the testimony of diplomats and civilians who did not work for the Defence Department. Its lawyers also want any documents belonging to those officials, including reports that warned of torture or documented the abuse, excluded from the commission's findings... The commission's report is the last chance for Canadians to get a comprehensive account of what happened...

The government's refusal to hand over documents to both the commission and a House of Commons committee sparked a crisis in December 2009 where the Liberals brought in a contempt motion that threatened to topple the Conservatives. The prime minister avoided it by shutting down Parliament during the Christmas Holidays that year.

The government eventually agreed to let independent experts and a committee of MPS -- excluding the NDP -- to review what documents could be released. A year after the agreement, the committee has yet to release a single scrap of paper, although Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe has given them until April 15.
Image source here.