The National Post (Canada) & The Telegraph (London) – 2005-12-12 00:05:06
Khadr Says Ottawa Knew of His Torture’
Michael Friscolanti and Natalie Alcoba / The National Post
TORONTO, Canada (December 8, 2005) — A Toronto man under investigation for his alleged links to al-Qaeda says he was tortured in a Pakistani prison for 18 months and repeatedly interrogated by Canadian officials who had “full knowledge” of the abuse.
In a statement issued last night by his lawyer, Abdullah Khadr accused the federal government of “being implicit” in his alleged torture by turning a blind eye.
“Although it does not appear that Canadian government officials directly inflicted this abuse,” the statement claims, Canadian intelligence agents were “provided with summaries of information obtained through the application of torture and relied upon this information for official purposes.”
Mr. Khadr, the son of a notorious al-Qaeda financier, returned to Toronto last week, escorted by two Canadian consular officials. Until then, his whereabouts were unknown, although his family had long suspected he was imprisoned near Islamabad.
“Mr. Khadr was essentially a ghost detainee being held incommunicado and beyond the reach of the Rule of Law,” his lawyer, Dennis Edney, said in the statement. “It is apparent that this detention was effected in co-operation with the government of the United States, and constituted an example of a Canadian citizen being unlawfully detained in a secret prison beyond the review of the courts or the Constitution.”
The 24-year-old was never provided an attorney, nor told the reasons why he was being detained, Mr. Edney said in an interview.
All the while, Canadian officials questioned Mr. Khadr “with full knowledge as to his circumstances.”
Mr. Edney tried, but failed, to locate Mr. Khadr through the Canadian government after he disappeared. Last night, he said he believes Canada knew of his client’s whereabouts since February of this year. “I would suggest Canada knew well before that,” he added.
Mr. Khadr says he was held in two Pakistani prisons, in or near Islamabad. His first 48 hours were spent “hooded, shackled” Mr. Edney said, made to “stand up continuously” for 48 hours naked. He says he was interrogated simultaneously and individually by Pakistani and American authorities the 18 days that followed.
After that, he was moved to a prison about 30 minutes south of Islamabad, where Mr. Khadr said he was visited by Canadian embassy officials, by CSIS and by the RCMP on at least five separate occasions, starting in mid February until mid-November of this year. All but one of those interviews happened in a safehouse, with as many as seven people present.
Interviewers asked him about his family background and about why he wanted to return to Canada. One three-day interview with CSIS officials included questions about a prominent Toronto Imam Ali Hindy.
On another occasion, officials told him they were trying to arrange for his deportation back to Canada, where they would take him “to a cabin someplace in Canada so they could get to know each other better,” Mr. Edney said.
“What we clearly have is the detention of a Canadian citizen … in a place that has a history of torture, and Canada is participating in interrogating.”
Mr. Edney says the Canadian government is implicit in the torture because it relied upon evidence obtained through it—specifically evidence that led them to seek a search warrant for Mr. Khadr’s sister’s laptop.
“That’s obviously derived from information taken from Abdullah, and that’s taken from a man who’s being tortured,” said Mr. Edney.
Abdullah Khadr’s return to Canada — and his subsequent claim of torture — is just the latest chapter in the ongoing saga surrounding his infamous family.
Abdullah is the eldest son of Ahmed Said Khadr, a notorious al-Qaeda financier who urged his children to follow in the ways of fanatical Islam. Before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the entire family lived in the same Afghanistan compound as Osama bin Laden, and Abdullah allegedly ran one of the terrorist leader’s training camps.
The federal government had little to say yesterday about Mr. Khadr’s return or his sensational accusations. Neither the RCMP nor the Canadian Security Intelligence Service would discuss whether he was questioned during his detention in Pakistan.
Abdullah Khadr disappeared after the 9/11 attacks, but his name resurfaced in February, 2004, when a radical Islamic Web site claimed he was responsible for a suicide bombing that killed a Canadian soldier near Kabul.
EU Concealed Deal with US To Allow ‘Rendition’ Flights
Justin Stares and Philip Sherwell / The London Telegraph
BRUSSELS/WASHINGTON (December 11, 2005) — The European Union secretly allowed the United States to use transit facilities on European soil to transport “criminals” in 2003, according to a previously unpublished document. The revelation contradicts repeated EU denials that it knew of “rendition” flights by the CIA.
The EU agreed to give America access to facilities — presumably airports — in confidential talks in Athens during which the war on terror was discussed, the original minutes show. But all references to the agreement were deleted from the record before it was published.
The issue of “rendition” flights — in which terror suspects are flown to secret bases and third countries for interrogation — overshadowed last week’s fence-mending visit to Europe by Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State.
Asked in Parliament last week about reports of 400 suspect flights passing through British airports, Tony Blair said: “In respect of airports, I don’t know what you are referring to.”
The minutes of the Athens meeting on January 22, 2003, were written by the then Greek presidency of the EU after the talks with a US delegation headed by a justice department official. EU officials confirmed that a full account was circulated to all member governments, and would have been sent to the Home Office.
The document, entitled New Transatlantic Agenda, EU-US meeting on Justice and Home Affairs, details the subjects discussed by the 31 people present. The agenda included the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and extradition agreements.
According to the full version, “Both sides agreed on areas where co-operation could be improved [inter alia] the exchange of data between border management services, increased use of European transit facilities to support the return of criminal/ inadmissible aliens, co-ordination with regard to false documents training and improving the co-operation in removals.”
But this section, and others referring to US policy, were deleted — as a “courtesy” to Washington, according to a spokesman for the EU Council of Ministers.
Tony Bunyan, of the Statewatch civil liberties group which obtained the original document, said: “What kind of facilities are these and how many people work there? That phrase suggests the US is being allowed to use airports in Europe to transport criminals from third countries.”
Washington has been angered by EU protests about the movement and alleged abuse of terror suspects. Yesterday, John Bellinger, senior legal adviser to the US State Department, said the convention against torture, which the US has signed, “would generally apply” to prisoners held by the US.
He said on BBC radio: “Some of the allegations more broadly about all sorts of things are ludicrous. These allegations that we have these activities going on in the hundreds over Europe, and that we are going to take people off to be mistreated, are simply untrue.”
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