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Peter Tinsley
September 18, 2010
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Ever since Canada went to war in Afghanistan, there's been controversy over the capture of suspected insurgents. At first, under the former Liberal government, Canada turned its prisoners over to the U.S. military, but that didn't go over so well.

So, in late 2005, the Liberals made a deal to turn prisoners over to Afghan security forces, but questions about their treatment never went away. Then, in early 2007, with the Conservatives in power, allegations surfaced that prisoners - transferred by Canada - might have been tortured.

Now, fast forward to late 2009 and testimony from Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin.

He said all detainees handed over by Canada were likely tortured, and he said he started warning the military and Foreign Affairs officials about it, in 2006. The government attacked Colvin's credibility - insisting there's no credible evidence to support his allegations. The Conservatives also say they had concerns about the state of Afghan prisons, when they took office in '06 - so, they rewrote the prisoner transfer agreement.

In the meantime, Ottawa has released more than 40 reports written by Colvin, but most were heavily censored.

The Prime Minister has shut down parliament, and with it, a Commons committee looking into the detainee controversy.

So, what do we make of it all?

Well, Peter Tinsley is the former chair of Canada's Military Police Complaints Commission. He looked into torture allegations for two years - until the Harper government replaced him in December. He's held such high-profile positions as Senior Prosecutor of Canadian Forces in Somalia, and International Prosecutor for the UN's interim administration in Kosovo. With credentials like that, you'd think the government might want to keep him around.


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