Torture claims in Al-Qaeda playbook
[PoliticsWatch posted 4:30 p.m. June 12, 2006]
Some of the Toronto terror suspects being held in detention are
claiming through their lawyers that they are being tortured.
One of the suspect's lawyers told reporters after a bail hearing in
Brampton on Monday that the hearing heard claim after claim of
torture during proceedings.
"They heard counsel after counsel after counsel stand up this morning and complain of the torture these individuals are receiving in
detention," said Rocco Galati, who represents Ahmad Mustafa Ghany.
The suspects are being held at the Maplehurst Correctional Complex in Milton.
Reports of torture within Canadian correctional facilities are rare,
but making claims of torture are standard procedure for captured
jihadists, according to a document considered to be Al-Qaeda's
Although the men arrested are all Canadian citizens, police
described their alleged plot to obtain explosives and blow up
Canadian landmarks as an Al-Qaeda inspired operation.
The Al-Qaeda training manual was discovered by the police in Manchester, England, during a search of an Al Qaeda member's home
and was used as evidence in the trial of the four men convicted in
the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
An English translation of the manual is widely available on the
Lesson 18 of the document entitled "Prisons
and detention centres" advises captured jihadists that when
criminal proceedings begin "brothers must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them by State Security [investigators] before the judge."
It also tells terrorists to "complain [to the court] of mistreatment while in
prison" and "know the names of the state security officers, who participated in his torture and mention their names to the judge."
David Kolinsky, who represents Zakara Amara, told
reporters in Brampton Monday that his client was roughed up by a
prison guard at Maplehurst.
"My client advised that as he was being searched the guard touched his
ribs," he explained. "He's ticklish. He giggled a bit. Then he was pinned down on the ground. The guard drilled his finger and knuckle into his cheek quite hard and said, 'Is this funny?'"
He then went on to describe the conditions his client is being held
"My client is being held in custody. He's in a locked room. Three concrete walls, approximately 11 feet by six feet. He's with a concrete door. There's no window in the room. There's a small slit that is opened when meals are placed in his room. The light is on 24 hours a day."
Kolinsky said 30 years ago the federal court said this type of treatment is "cruel and unusual" punishment.
In addition to Galati and Kolinsky's comments, CTV News reported
that two of the accused are also claiming they were tortured while in custody,
one who said he was threatened with gang rape.
Martin Collacott, a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute and
a former federal foreign affairs official who was responsible for the coordination of counter-terrorism policy,
said making claims of torture is "fairly standard" and the
Al-Qaeda manual is something people should "take into
account" when terror suspects make claims.
"I'm not overly surprised that they're charging torture,"
Collacott would not comment on the specific allegations made by the
suspects' lawyers, but said, "I would really find it hard to
believe that Canadian authorities, especially since this is such a
sensitive case, that they're going to do anything of a really
serious nature or do it systematically."
"What we would normally describe as torture, I would be
amazed to find out if authorities engaged in something that most
people describe as torture."
In other developments at the courthouse in Brampton, the presiding
judge has imposed a publication ban on details of the
That move angered Galati, who accused the police of leaking details
of the allegations against his client to select media.
Galati called the publication ban "preposterous" and said
he wants a live feed of the court proceedings to be used for
© PoliticsWatch® 2006. All rights reserved. Republication
or redistribution of PoliticsWatch content, including by framing,
copying, linking or similar means, is expressly prohibited without
the prior written consent of Public Interests Research and Communications
Inc. (PIRCINC). PoliticsWatch is registered trademark of PIRCINC.