Independent monitors visit Afghan prison

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission gained access on Sunday to the Afghan National Directorate of Security prison, where there have been allegations of abuse.

Members of theAfghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission were allowed on Sunday into the prison run by the National Directorate of Security, the war-torn country's intelligence police, the CBC has learned.

The monitors were "warmly received" by NDS agents, the commission said. However,two agents followed them while they tried to interview detainees about their treatment inside the prison,giving commission members the sensethe prisoners couldn't speak freely.

The commission also said it does not have full access to the prison: Out of 10 requests for visits, only two have been granted.

In Ottawa, the federal government has been rocked by accusations that Afghan authorities have abused prisonersafter being handed over by Canadian soldiers.

Opposition parties have repeatedly called for the resignation of Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor, amid allegations he has misled Parliament on what happens to prisoners once they're transferred to local authorities.

Canada has assigned the task of monitoring transferred prisoners to Afghanistan's rights commission.

The head of NATO's southern command in Afghanistan, Maj.-Gen. Ton van Loon, said last week there could be improvements in the system, but he hasn't heard of any specific cases of abuse in the six months that he has been in charge of NATO troops.

On Saturday, NATO said it was supporting an Afghanistan government investigation into allegations that detainees have been mistreated.

This week the Canadian branch of the human rights group Amnesty International will ask a federal court for a temporary injunction to stop Canada from transferring its prisoners to Afghan officials.

"There is a very real risk that those who are being transferred are subject to torture," said Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty Canada.