Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

May 04, 2007 23:23 ET

Statement by Lieutenant-General W.J. Natynczyk, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - May 4, 2007) - Lieutenant-General W.J. Natynczyk, CMM, MSC, CD, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff , issued the following statement today:

"Media reporting of a specific example of an individual detained by Afghan Authorities are inaccurate. These reports suggest that the Canadian Forces (CF) transferred an Afghan captured by the CF, that this individual was subsequently abused, and that this was known at the time.

To be clear, the circumstances of this incident do not support such conclusions.

The incident took place in the Zangabad area in the course of an operation in June 2006. The CF members came upon the individual and questioned him but at no time did they capture him. From their questions, the CF members concluded that there was no need to detain the individual as he was of no value or threat to them. Subsequently, the local Afghan National Police (ANP) arrested him.

Sometime later CF members visited the local ANP station where the Afghan had been taken. At that time they noticed injuries that had not been present previously. A medical examination assessed the individual as having minor injuries.

As the result of what they observed the CF members were hesitant to leave the Afghan with the local ANP, took custody of him, and arranged for him to be transferred to a different ANP detachment.

Nothing in the circumstances described can lead to a conclusion that the individual was tortured and that CF members were aware of such torture. As the circumstances above indicate, this individual was not processed by the CF as a detainee; he was arrested by the ANP. The level of abuse evident in this case appeared relatively minor but enough to cause CF members to take concrete steps to ensure the safety and welfare of the individual as they are trained to do.

Finally, as Colonel Noonan's affidavit indicates, there were no specific complaints received from CF members, humanitarian agencies, detainees or former detainees to the CF or CEFCOM regarding the treatment of detainees transferred to Afghan authorities by Canada."

Note to Editor: For all related inquiries, the principal spokesperson will the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff. Please contact the Media Liaison Office.

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