Afghan warden contradicts Colvin claims

Nov. 22, 2009 at 11:42 AM
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KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- An Afghanistan prison warden has contradicted claims of prisoner abuse made last week by a Canadian diplomat, Canwest News Service reported Sunday.

Chief warden Col. Abdullah Bawar of Sarpoza Prison in Kandahar said in an interview with Canwest that while prisoners were indeed tortured there in 2006 and 2007, the abuse did not rise to the levels described by Richard Colvin at a parliamentary hearing last week.

Bawar said that only about 100 prisoners out of population of 1,110 during the period were abused by being beaten with cables, while Colvin alleged that all suspected Taliban prisoners captured by Canadian troops were tortured after they were handed over to Kandahari authorities, Canwest said.

If true, that would mean the number of suspected Taliban abused at the prison would only number roughly a dozen, the news service said. Colvin, who was based in Kandahar in 2006 and 2007, created an uproar Wednesday when he said Canadian troops had turned suspects over to Afghan authorities knowing they would be tortured.

Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay lashed out at the allegations, saying they were "nothing short of hearsay, second- or third-hand information, or that which came directly from the Taliban," Canwest reported.

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