Alarming detention issues alleged by diplomat

A former Canadian diplomat warned the federal government in May 2006 of “serious” and “alarming” problems with the handling of Afghan prisoners in Kandahar.

Military Police Complaints Commission chair Peter Tinsley listens to remarks during the Public Interest Hearings into the allegations regarding Afghan Detainees in Gatineau

OTTAWA — A former Canadian diplomat warned the federal government in May 2006 of “serious” and “alarming” problems with the handling of Afghan prisoners in Kandahar.

Richard Colvin, deputy head of intelligence at the Canadian embassy in Washington, filed several reports during his roughly 18 months in Afghanistan.

He filed an affidavit with the Military Police Complaints Commission, which is investigating what military cops knew, or should have known, about the possible torture of prisoners.

The 16-page written statement was sealed last week for a national security review, but was released publicly today.

The Conservative government repeatedly said in the spring of 2007 that it had received no credible reports of prisoner abuse.

But Colvin said he warned the deputy commander of the provincial reconstruction base after he became aware of problems upon arriving in Kandahar in April 2006.

He visited Sarpoza prison before writing a detailed report a month later.

“Judging these problems regarding Afghan detainees to be serious, imminent and alarming, I made investigations and detailed my findings formally in my reporting from the PRT,” Colvin wrote.

The report was submitted to the Foreign Affairs Department, but cc’d to senior military officers — both in Kandahar and Ottawa.

Colvin said he sent it through specific “action address” channels, “which ensured it would not only be received and read, but should be acted on.”

He still has the report, but has not yet turned it over to the commission.

It remains unclear in the affidavit whether the stark warnings were passed along to either Defence Minister Peter MacKay, who was in the foreign affairs portfolio at the time, or former defence minister Gordon O’Connor.

Paul Champ, the lawyer for Amnesty International and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, was startled to read about Colvin’s report.

He said the May 26, 2006, report was not disclosed in previous court actions launched by the human-rights groups, which have been trying to halt transfers of Afghan prisoners.

Just Posted

Red Deer’s crisis line workers are busy dealing with multiple emergencies

Callers need everything from mental health counselling to their basic needs met

Some Alberta minor hockey players getting heat for Indigenous locker room dance

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — The Fort McMurray Minor Hockey Association has apologized… Continue reading

Not a fly-over province: Trudeau making frequent stops in Saskatchewan

LA LOCHE, Sask. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to visit… Continue reading

Shale oil producer seeking long-term river water supply

A company behind what is billed as Canada’s first commercial shale oil… Continue reading

Pleaded guilty: Ex-Red Deer teacher gets 3 years for sex offences against kids

SASKATOON — A former Saskatoon teacher who admitted to sexual offences involving… Continue reading

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Backlund scores OT winner for Calgary Flames in 3-2 win over Carolina Hurricanes

Flames 3, Hurricanes 2 (OT) CALGARY — Mikael Backlund scored 15 seconds… Continue reading

Glendening’s two-goal performance leads Red Wings past Oilers 3-2

Red Wings 3, Oilers 2 EDMONTON — Luke Glendening had a pair… Continue reading

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

OTTAWA — The Canada Food Guide’s familiar food rainbow has been replaced… Continue reading

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

B.C. animators land Oscar nominations

‘Animal Behaviour’ by Vancouver’s David Fine and Alison Snowden among several Canadians on the short list

Canadian talent abound on newly revamped Vancouver Whitecaps squad

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Whitecaps may need to stock up on maple… Continue reading

China demands US drop Huawei extradition request with Canada

China detained two Canadians on Dec. 10 in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng

Most Read