Saturday, May 05, 2007

Over tea, Afghan prisoners describe torture

By Rosie DiManno
The Toronto Star

"They've been to hell and survived it. Now they're in prison purgatory and blessedly thankful for it.
In ... Sarposa Provincial Prison [in Kandahar] ... there's even tea with the warden in his office and candy in a crystal goblet, a pleasant if suspiciously contrived tableau."
"A damn sight better than ... torture allegedly inflicted during an earlier period of incarceration in the notorious National Directorate of Security headquarters across town."
"two inmates, both convicted as Taliban operatives ... have been summoned here to be
interviewed by the Star"
"Mohammed Nadar, 43, is serving a seven-year sentence; Amadullah, 35, is down for 14 years."
"...scars have healed, they say, since being transferred to Sarposa from the widely feared NDS, this country's intelligence police agency, usually mentioned only in whispers."
"The alleged torment of detainees at the un-tender mercies of the NDS has triggered a firestorm in Ottawa, with accusations that Canada is complicit in their abuse because they were turned over by Canadian troops as per a transfer agreement signed with Afghanistan in 2005."
"There appears little pity for the vast majority of prisoners who routinely – according to human rights organizations – suffer horrendous mistreatment in custody"
" 'I was kept for six months in a cage that was less than 2 metres wide, with two other prisoners,' says Amadullah. 'I thought, I will die in here. And for what? I've never even been presented with an
arrest warrant.' "
"Mohammed, in contrast to Amadullah, tells a more gruesome tale of the interrogation methods used against him by the NDS. His crime – and conviction in sharia court – arose from denouncement as a Taliban militant ... 'They whipped me with rubber hoses. Another time, they used a chain to hang me from the ceiling, my head towards the floor. Always they kept saying: Tell us the truth! Tell us what you know!' "
"Their miserable fate apparently doesn't trouble the Canadian conscience"

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