Canada's secret service ignored detainee's rights: report

OTTAWA - Canada's secret service ignored human rights concerns while questioning Canadian detainee Omar Khadr at the US war-on-terror military prison in Guantanamo, Cuba in 2003, a government-commissioned report published Wednesday found.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service "failed to give proper attention to two important matters: human rights issues, and Mr Khadr's age when the interviews were conducted," the report by Canada's Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) determined.

Canada's secret service ignored detainee's rights: report
The report examined the role played by Canadian intelligence in the detention of Khadr, now 22 years old, who is accused of killing a US soldier in Afghanistan in 2002.
Khadr, who was just 15 at the time of his arrest, is the last Western detainee at the US-run prison camp at Guantanamo.
"At the time that CSIS interviewed Mr Khadr in 2003, there were widespread allegations of mistreatment and abuse of detainees in US custody in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, (yet the) SIRC did not find any evidence that CSIS took this information into account in deciding to interview Mr Khadr," the report said.
It noted that the spy service had been tasked with collecting "intelligence on a potentially serious terrorist threat and to provide advice to the government of Canada accordingly."
However, it also is charged to act within the bounds of Canadian and international law, the report admonished, noting that as a minor, Khadr enjoyed a special status and had been "entitled to certain fundamental rights."
Though Canadian intelligence had "reasonable grounds" to travel to Guantanamo to interview Khadr, "SIRC found no evidence that CSIS took Khadr's age into consideration" before conducting the interrogation," the report concluded.
"SIRC's concern that Khadr's age did not appear to factor into CSIS's decision to interview him, nor influence its interview methodology, is compounded by the fact that CSIS was aware that Khadr had been kept incommunicado since his arrival at Guantanamo Bay," it stressed.
The committee recommended that in the future, the intelligence agency "develop a policy framework to guide its interactions with youth" and that such a framework be "entrenched in Canadian and international law."

Wednesday, July 15th 2009

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