Canada puts U.S., Israel on torture watchlist
18/01/08 -- OTTAWA, Jan 17 (Reuters)
- An official Canadian government document has put both the
United States and Israel on a watch list of countries where
prisoners run the risk of being tortured, CTV television
reported on Thursday.
The revelation is likely to embarrass the minority Conservative
government, which is a staunch U.S. ally.
The document mentions the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo
Bay in Cuba where a Canadian man is being held.
CTV said the document was part of a course on torture awareness
given to Canadian diplomats to help them determine whether
prisoners they visited abroad had been mistreated.
It said the document mentioned U.S. interrogation techniques
such as "forced nudity, isolation, and sleep deprivation."
Other countries on the watch list include Syria, China, Iran and
Afghanistan, CTV said.
A spokesman for Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier tried to
distance Ottawa from the document.
"The training manual is not a policy document and does not
reflect the views or policies of this government," he said.
The mention of Guantanamo Bay is particularly sensitive, since
the Canadian government rejects allegations that a citizen may
have been mistreated there.
Omar Khadr has been in the facility for five years. He is
accused of killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan in 2002, when
he was 15.
Right groups say Khadr should be repatriated to Canada, an idea
that Ottawa firmly rejects.
A spokeswoman at the U.S. embassy said she was looking into the
report. No one was immediately available for comment at the
The torture awareness course started after Ottawa was strongly
criticised for the way it handled the case of Canadian engineer
Maher Arar, who was deported from the United States to Syria in
Arar says he was tortured repeatedly during the year he spent in
Damascus prisons. An inquiry into the case revealed that
Canadian diplomats had not received any formal training into
detecting whether detainees had been abused. (Reporting by David
Ljunggren; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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