Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Inquiry needed into SAS prisoner transfer torture claims

Independent inquiry needed into SAS prisoner transfer torture claims

The Green Party is calling on the Government to establish an independent inquiry into new evidence that New Zealand’s SAS soldiers in Afghanistan have been passing over prisoners who have later been mistreated or tortured, actions which may be in breach of the Geneva Convention.

In the latest edition of Metro, journalist Jon Stephenson provides testimony from those who were tortured after the SAS handed over 55 prisoners to American forces following a 2002 raid in southern Helmand. He also reports on a raid in Wardak province last year, where a prisoner handed over to Afghan troops was badly beaten and only intervention by the SAS prevented him from being murdered. The SAS has also handed over prisoners to the Afghanistan National Directorate of Security, renowned for its torture practices.

“This new evidence shows we can no longer accept the Defence Minister’s assurances that the SAS is not detaining prisoners and handing them over to subsequent torture,” said Keith Locke, Green Party defence spokesperson.

“This is a grave matter because on the evidence New Zealand may be accused of violating the international rules of war. As a party taking prisoners our Defence Force bears some responsibility for any mistreatment afterwards.

“There needs to be an independent judicial inquiry to test the claims made in the Metro article. Neither Labour or National have given Parliament and the public straight answers on this issue.

“An internal inquiry would not suffice, given that the Defence Force has swept this matter under the carpet for the last nine years.

“It has been extremely difficult for MPs like myself to get to the truth, because of an excessive level of official secrecy, including around what arrangements our Defence Force has with the Afghan authorities.

“Last year, I was told in response to a written parliamentary question that the Afghan government had assured us in writing that any detainees passed over would be treated in accordance with humanitarian law. However, I was not allowed to see the wording of that assurance – perhaps because it was not worth the paper it was written on.

“Only an independent inquiry will get the truth out and provide the answers that the public deserve about our activities in Afghanistan,” said Mr Locke.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Supermarket Scam, And On Tunisia’s Scrapping Of Democracy

Are we paying too much for our groceries? Hmm. Is the Pope a Catholic? Given that the two Australian supermarket chains that dominate our grocery industry routinely rack up profits in the order of $22 billion annually, that’s a no-brainer. Yet as with New Zealand’s other socio-economic problems created by our 1980s reforms, the practical solutions seem pretty thin on the ground... More>>


Government: Welcomes Draft Report On The Retail Grocery Sector

The Commerce Commission’s draft report into the retail grocery sector is being welcomed by Government as a major milestone. “I asked the Commerce Commission to look at whether this sector is as competitive as it could be and today it has released its draft report for consultation,” Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister, David Clark said... More>>


Child Poverty Action Group: Poverty Burden For Children Increased Due To Government Neglect - New Report

Poverty, inequity, homelessness and food insecurity are among the burdens which increased for tamariki Māori and other children in the first year of Covid-19 - partially due to Government neglect... More>>

Government: Cabinet Accepts Turkish Authorities’ Request For The Managed Return Of Three NZ Citizens

Cabinet has agreed to the managed return of a New Zealand citizen and her two young children from Turkey, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The three have been in immigration detention in Turkey since crossing the border from Syria earlier this year... More>>


NZUS Council: Welcomes Nomination Of Senator Tom Udall As US Ambassador To NZ

The NZUS Council welcomes the nomination of Senator Tom Udall to the role of US Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, NZUS Council executive director Jordan Small said... More>>

BusinessNZ: Visa Extensions Welcomed
BusinessNZ has welcomed the extension of some critical skill visa durations and changes to immigration systems to speed processing. Chief Executive Kirk Hope says move acknowledges advocacy by the hospitality sector, the BusinessNZ Network and others, and comes not a moment too soon.... More>>

Social Development: Government Initiatives Contribute To Fall In Benefit Numbers

Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the release of the June quarter Benefit Statistics which show a continuing fall in the number of people receiving a Main Benefit... More>>




InfoPages News Channels