Friday, May 21, 2010

Anybody Learning Lessons?

What Canada can learn from Britain’s detainee scandal

May 21 2010 Exactly why Canada’s Conservative government is so adamant about hiding information related to Afghan prisoner abuse has long been something of a mystery.

The government stonewalled a public inquiry and did the same to opposition MPs, relenting — slightly — only when it faced the threat of a snap election.

Now, thanks to a British court case looking into the treatment of Britain’s Afghan detainees, we may be getting some clues about Ottawa’s motives.

In London, two high court justices are being asked to determine whether Britain’s policy of transferring captured Afghan prisoners to that country’s secret police defies European human rights law.

The evidence in the case has been subject to strict government censorship. The plaintiff’s legal brief was censored, and parts of the hearing were held in secret.

Even so, details that have emerged — based in large part on British government documents — paint a picture that could be most relevant to the Canadian situation.

The evidence shows two things. Continued

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