Afghan detainee torture risk raised in 2005
A Canadian diplomat with extensive experience in Afghanistan says she raised the possibility that detainees transferred from Canadian to Afghan custody were at risk of torture back in 2005, but her concerns were ignored.
In an exclusive interview with CBC News, Eileen Olexiuk, who arrived in Afghanistan in 2002 and was second-in-command at the Canadian Embassy in Kabul, said she told the Liberal government then in power that the transfer agreement didn't do enough to protect detainees.
Canadian officials at the time weren't monitoring detainees after the transfer, which left detainees vulnerable to torture once they were in Afghan hands, said Olexiuk, who met with torture victims during her three years in Afghanistan.
She had also written three different human rights reports over three years warning that torture was a common problem in Afghanistan.
But Olexiuk said her advice was ignored by Paul Martin's government.
"I don't think anybody really cared, quite frankly," she said.
It was only in 2007 that allegations of torture arose in the news media, with reports of transferred detainees being beaten, whipped, starved, frozen, choked and shocked.
After the allegations arose, Stephen Harper's newly elected Conservative government signed a transfer agreement with Afghanistan in May 2007, allowing Canadian officials to visit prisons and track detainees who had been transferred there.
Allegations of torture have continued, despite the agreement.
Richard Colvin, a senior diplomat with Canada's Afghan mission, testified before a House of Commons committee in November 2009 that detainees continue to be tortured. His testimony renewed debate in Ottawa over the fate of detainees.
With files from James Cudmore