'The Canadians saw with their own eyes'

A former Afghan prison warden talks to Canwest.

Some Taliban prisoners who were transferred two or three years ago to Sarpoza Prison by Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security bore signs that they had been tortured, the former warden told Canwest News Service on Monday. But Canadian soldiers went to great lengths to try to ensure that prisoners who they had detained and handed over to the NDS were not abused, said Abdul Qadar Khan Popal.

“At the time, John, from the Canadian side, was looking after prisoners that were in NDS custody and was always complaining to the NDS because the prisoners had told him they were tortured,” Popal said. “He tried to bring them out of NDS custody and into Sarpoza as quickly as he could because he understood the situation.

“The Canadians saw with their own eyes and asked the prisoners if they had any complaints. The Canadians minded very strongly when the prisoners complained and advised us not to mistreat anyone. The explained to us about human rights and told us how to treat prisoners, especially political ones.”

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