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Canada: U.S. Added To Torture Watch List

A training manual for Canadian diplomats, produced by the Department of Foreign Affairs, includes the United States among countries which potentially use torture on prisoners.

The New York Times reported that a foreign ministry spokesperson confirmed the contents of the manual.

However, Canadian government employees struggled to assure that the attribution was not an official government position against the United States, a close ally.

Also on the torture watch list: Afghanistan, China, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

The ruling Conservative government has heretofore accepted assurances by the Bush administration that the United States does not engage in torture against prisoners, including detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

A Canadian man, Omar Khadr, is currently being held at the U.S. military prison there. He is accused of a 2002 killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan when he was 15 years old.

Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler, Khadr's U.S. military lawyer, told Canadian broadcaster CTV that he believes the manual contradicts Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's assurances that his client has received fair treatment.

"Omar has been there for five-and-a-half years, and at some point in the course of Omar Khadr's detention the Canadian government developed the suspicion he was being tortured and abused," Kuebler told the news program "Canada AM."

"And yet it has not acted to obtain his release from Guantanamo Bay and protect his rights, unlike every other Western country that has had its nationals detained in Guantanamo Bay."

A United States Embassy spokesperson told Reuters, "The United States does not permit, tolerate or condone torture under any circumstances."

The manual - a PowerPoint presentation - is for training diplomats in protecting Canadian citizens who may be detained and subject to abuse in other countries.

CTV said the manual listed, among specific U.S. interrogation techniques, "forced nudity, isolation, and sleep deprivation."

The program was developed as part of a "torture awareness workshop," in response to the case of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, born in Syria, who was detained by the United States in 2002 under suspicion that he was tied to terrorists. Arar was transported to Syria. A Canadian inquiry later determined he was tortured there.

Arar was awarded C$11.5 million by the Canadian government as compensation.

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