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Peter MacKay, left, talks with Gordon O'Connor during a cabinet swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Aug. 14, 2007. MacKay replaced O'Connor as defence minister. (CHRIS WATTIE)
Peter MacKay, left, talks with Gordon O'Connor during a cabinet swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Aug. 14, 2007. MacKay replaced O'Connor as defence minister. (CHRIS WATTIE)


Tracking the treatment of detainees: a timeline Add to ...

Dec. 18, 2005 General Rick Hillier, Chief of the Defence Staff, signs an agreement with Afghanistan's Defence Minister stipulating that detainees handed from Canadian to Afghan custody will be treated in accordance with the third Geneva convention, which forbids torture and other inhumane treatment.

May 31, 2006 Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor says the International Committee of the Red Cross is monitoring detainees, and will report prisoner abuse to Canada.

February, 2007 Investigations are launched into the treatment of Afghan detainees after The Globe and Mail publishes allegations of abuse.

Feb. 21, 2007 Amnesty International and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association file an application in Federal Court seeking a judicial review of the military's detainee-handover policy, questioning whether Canadian soldiers abroad are legally bound by the Geneva Conventions.

March 21, 2007 Mr. O'Connor apologizes for providing inaccurate information. "I would like to be clear: The International Committee of the Red Cross is under no obligation to share information with Canada on the treatment of detainees transferred by Canada to Afghan authorities," he tells the House of Commons. "The International Committee of the Red Cross provides this information to the country that has the detainees in its custody, in this case, Afghanistan."

April 23, 2007 During 30 face-to-face interviews with The Globe and Mail, Afghans detained by Canadian soldiers and sent to Kandahar's notorious jails say they were beaten, whipped, starved, frozen, choked and subjected to electric shocks during interrogation.

April 24, 2007 Stephen Harper brushes off calls for his Defence Minister's head and dismisses the furor over the torture of Afghans captured by Canadian soldiers as "allegations of the Taliban. ... We do not have evidence that [the torture]is true."

April 26, 2007 The Harper government buckles and announces a new deal providing Canadian officials with full access to Afghan jails.

July 9, 2007 It is learned that Gen. Hillier's office has halted the release of documents relating to detainees captured in Afghanistan under the federal Access to Information Act, claiming that disclosure of any such information could endanger Canadian troops.

Sept. 22, 2007 Canada is unable to account for at least 50 prisoners it captured and turned over to Afghan authorities, frustrating efforts to put to rest concerns the detainees were subject to torture. Canadian sources blame the Afghans' shoddy record-keeping and suggest the detainees have probably returned safely to their homes. But officials familiar with Kandahar's justice system say the possibility of foul play cannot be dismissed.

Nov. 13, 2007 Turning Afghan detainees over to known torturers breaks international law, and Canada, along with other NATO countries should impose an immediate halt to transfers, Amnesty International says.

Nov. 15, 2007 Canadian officials confirm they have evidence a Taliban detainee showed signs of physical abuse, the seventh such allegation made by detainees since Canada began systematically visiting Afghan prisoners in May.

Jan. 22, 2008 Compelling evidence that Canadian-transferred detainees are still being tortured in Afghan prisons emerges from the government's own follow-up inspection reports.

Nov. 28, 2008 The inquiry asks Defence Minister Peter MacKay to let it be placed on a special schedule that would allow it to conduct closed-door hearings rather than the more stringent format of written questions and answers sought by government lawyers.

Jan. 16, 2009 Mr. MacKay turns down the commission's request.

July 10, 2009 MPCC chair Peter Tinsley writes to Mr. MacKay to ask for his mandate to be extended beyond December, 2009, so he can complete the inquiry.

Sept. 9, 2009 Mr. MacKay tells Mr. Tinsley his mandate won't be extended.

Sept. 23, 2009 Federal lawyers file motion to quash the subpoenas for 22 witnesses.

Sept. 28, 2009 Richard Colvin's lawyers notify the inquiry and the government lawyers that the motion to quash the summons should not apply to her client because he has personal knowledge of what military police knew about torture risks.

Oct. 13, 2009 Mr. Colvin's lawyer, Lori Bokenfohr, accused Justice Department attorney Alain Préfontaine of actively discouraging witnesses from co-operating with the inquiry.

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