Canada charter doesn't apply to Taliban

Thu Mar 13, 2008 5:34pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not apply to Taliban and other detainees captured by Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, the Federal Court ruled on Wednesday, dealing a blow to Amnesty International.

The ruling is part of ongoing litigation brought by Amnesty to try to stop the Canadian military from transferring its prisoners to Afghan authorities, lest they be tortured.

Amnesty had sought to base part of its argument on the generous provisions of the Canadian charter, part of Canada's constitution, but Justice Anne Mactavish rebuffed the attempt.

"While detainees held by the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan have rights accorded to them under the Afghan Constitution and by international law, and, in particular, by international humanitarian law, they do not have rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms," she decided.

Canada stopped transferring prisoners last November after receiving evidence a detainee had been mistreated at the detention center in Kandahar, but resumed the transfers in February after taking certain measures.

Mactavish has yet to rule on Amnesty's request to halt the transfers.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer, editing by Mario Di Simine)