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NDP calls for public inquiry into Colvin's torture allegations

NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar called this morning for a public inquiry into the explosive testimony given yesterday by Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin. Colvin told the House Afghanistan Committee that all detainees handed over to the Afghan authorities were likely tortured, and that senior Canadian officials were aware of it.

In a news release on the NDP website, Dewar said:

“There are concerns that the government was complicit in torture, in violation of international law, while engaging in a massive cover-up that put our diplomats and soldiers on the ground at risk.”

“The only way to get to the bottom of Richard Colvin's explosive revelations is a public inquiry.”

The release also quoted NDP defence critic Jack Harris:

“From ordering officials to stop documenting information on detainee abuse to gagging witnesses, using delay tactics, and interfering with the Military Police Complaints Commission, this government continues to undermine the investigation into Afghan prisoner abuse. The government has left no other recourse than a public inquiry.”

In a report from The Canadian Press, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon defended his government's position on treatment of detainees. Cannon was in Kabul today to attend the inauguration of Hamid Karzai's second term as president of Afghanistan.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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