Tuesday, October 30, 2007


From time to time time is spent on translating French-language articles not appearing in the English-language media.  Those of Michèle Ouimet of La Presse are interesting in themselves, in that they have had differing responses from Ottawa and that La Presse is one of a very few daily newspapers in Quebec  and has a corresponding influence on those reading it.

Having sent what follows to the National Media, I thought I'd send it to you as well to maximize the value for time spent.

To: National Media <joe.hueglin@bellnet.ca>
From: Joe Hueglin <joe.hueglin@bellnet.ca>
Subject: F.Y.I : Translation of La Presse torture allegations Ottawa shrugged off.

"Ottawa shrugs off Afghan torture allegations" according to one article http://ca.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2007-10-29T185507Z_01_N29491987_RTRIDST_0_NEWS-AFGHAN-CANADA-COL.XML&archived=False while in another "Foreign Affairs confirms reports of abuse" http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071030.wdetainees30/BNStory/Afghanistan/home .

Following is a translation by google of the article that has the government and Foreign Affairs somewhat at odds and two other links to translations of other articles by Michèle Ouimet, La Presse Special Envoy, Kandahar.

Please inform me by writing REMOVE in the "Subject:" line of a return post should you choose not to receive posts of this nature in the future.

Joe Hueglin

On Monday, October 29, 2007

"It's you, Canadians, who are responsible for torture ..."

Michèle Ouimet
La Presse Special Envoy,

Canada does not torture the Taliban captured by his army. But they are back to the Afghan authorities that they make a little less here in lace. At what they say. Here is the first part of a major survey conducted on the ground by our Special Envoy, who met with several prisoners abused.

Although Ottawa has reached an agreement with the Afghan government in the spring, the prisoners captured by Canadian soldiers are still tortured in the premises of the secret services in Kandahar.

Struck off brick, deprived of sleep, pulled fingernails, electric shocks.Some detainees have to stand, arms in the air, for two days and two nights. Their feet became so swollen that their handcuffs can not move.

Others had their arms tied behind our backs and are hung on a wall, then beaten with electric cables.

I visited the prison in Kandahar, Sarpoza. Three prisoners captured in the past few months told me that they had been tortured.

A senior prison, which is not to be identified but who was present during the interview, confirmed. "Yes, a-t-il said, the detainees were tortured by the secret services before being taken away from us, Sarpoza. "

On April 23, the Globe and Mail wrote that the majority of prisoners captured by Canadians were tortured by local authorities.

This revelation had triggered a controversy monster. The Harper government had responded and signed an agreement with the Afghan President Hamid Karzai.  Since then, says Ottawa, torture does not exist anymore.

Wrong, said the three inmates who do not want to be identified. "In August, told one of them, the soldiers entered my home, at night, and they arrested with six other people. "They have accused them of being Taliban. "

The soldiers were taken to the headquarters of the American Special Forces in Kandahar before being transferred to the military base where NATO troops are stationed in Canada.

 "We spent 12 days in the prison of the military base," said the prisoner. The soldiers have interviewed only once, and we were treated well. "

 But things were spoiled when the prisoners were transferred to the Secret Service, NDS (National Directorate Security).

"Canadians have told us not to be afraid, continued the prisoner.  They gave us a document that asserted that there was no torture in Afghanistan.  The people of the secret services have torn me and they threw in the figure.  They tortured for 20 days.  I protested, I said that Canadians promised me that nothing would happen to me.  They replied: We are not here in Canada, there is tremendous!  Canadians are dogs! ' 'The Secret Service n'écoutent person or Karzai or Canada. "

Another prisoner, who also was tortured, launched: "It's you, the Canadians, who are responsible for torture because you deliver to the secret services who act like savages! "

According to the Afghan human rights, torture still exists, but the situation has improved since Canada intervened in the spring.

"Approximately one third of the prisoners are still tortured and NATO knows," said a spokesman, Shamuldin Tanwir.  Canadians give us a sealed envelope with the names of the prisoners captured.  The problem is that this list does not correspond to that of the secret services. "

An unhealthy prison

Several prisoners pass from the hands of Canadians to the secret services, and then directly to prison Sarpoza. No judge or trial or counsel.

"The judicial system is virtually non-existent," said the spokesperson of the United Nations (UNAMA), Rupert White. There is only one attorney for the province of Kandahar. Interjeter call is virtually impossible.  The justices must come from Kabul, but they refuse.  Nobody wants to deal with a political trial.  They are afraid of reprisals by the Taliban.  So deadlines are extremely long. "

And it lacks everything.  "There are no lawyers or legal expertise," said White.  There is not even copies of the laws. "

The prison Sarpoza is unhealthy and overcrowded.  It hosts 1,200 men and a handful of women.  Each cell has 18 inmates.  They sleep on mats laid on cement. Only the leader of the prisoners has a bed. There was no hot water and no heating.  In winter, the cells are frigid.  The thermometer drops to minus 10.

The toilets are minimal: a hole hidden by an old curtain.  Of Mice and snakes entering cells passing through stone walls.  Inmates clog the holes with plastic bags.

It lacks everything: blankets, sheets, medicines, gloves to clean the toilets.  Power outages are frequent, bare light bulbs hanging from ceilings and old son run along the walls.

"I often asked Canadians to help us, but they do nothing, complained one of the senior officials of the prison.  It's been two years that they begged us to install glass windows to protect us from the cold.  The winter is coming and Canada has done nothing. "

Canadians have refused to respond to allegations of torture.  I asked for an interview at the head of correctional services stationed in Kandahar.  The Relationship told me to call Ottawa.  What I have done.  Answer: no comment.

I also contacted the Canadian ambassador in Kabul, the only civilian who has the right to speak to journalists.  Still waiting for his call.

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I crossed half the world to come to Kandahar, Afghanistan. 
My goal: to excavate the case of Canadian aid. . Ottawa will invest 39 million this year in Kandahar province. http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cyberpresse.ca%2Farticle%2F20071029%2FCPACTUALITES%2F710290491%2F5846%2FCPACTUALITES&langpair=fr%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=%2Flanguage_tools

A blank check to the Red Cross
Canada is to pay millions of dollars to the Mirwais hospital, Kandahar.  But it does not have the right to put their feet to see where their money goes. Our correspondent Michele Ouimet has visited. She says, in the second part of its series of articles, having discovered an ocean of needs, a container that acts as a morgue and a director yes, a woman who does everything at arm's length.