Canada places U.S., Israel on torture watch list

Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:14pm EST
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's foreign ministry has put the United States and Israel on a watch list of countries where prisoners risk being tortured and also classifies some U.S. interrogation techniques as torture, according to a document obtained by Reuters on Thursday.

The revelation is likely to embarrass the minority Conservative government, which is a staunch ally of both the United States and Israel. Both nations denied they allowed torture in their jails.

The document -- part of a training course on torture awareness given to diplomats -- mentions the U.S. jail at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba where a Canadian man is being held.

The man, Omar Khadr, is the only Canadian in Guantanamo. His defenders said the document made a mockery of Ottawa's claims that Khadr was not being mistreated.

Under "definition of torture" the document lists U.S. interrogation techniques such as forced nudity, isolation, sleep deprivation and blindfolding prisoners.

"The United States does not permit, tolerate, or condone torture under any circumstances," said a spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in Ottawa.

A spokesman for Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier tried to distance Ottawa from the document.

"The training manual is not a policy document and does not reflect the views or policies of this government," he said.   Continued...

<p>A rusting fence with barbed wire is shown at the unused Camp X-Ray at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba September 5, 2007. REUTERS/Joe Skipper</p>