OTTAWA ó Amnesty International has added its voice to a chorus of critics who fear a new federal protocol on Canadian detainees could leave the door open to abuses like those seen in the cases of Maher Arar and Omar Khadr.Quote has been trimmed
The newly disclosed agreement gives the Canadian Security Intelligence Service the go-ahead to meet with a Canadian imprisoned abroad before consular officials do when there are "urgent national security or terrorism-related considerations."
The protocol, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, also suggests CSIS approach foreign authorities when a government denies Ottawa diplomatic access to a prisoner.
That raises the possibility of a Canadianís well-being taking a back seat to intelligence gathering needs, said Hilary Homes, security and human rights campaigner with Amnesty Internationalís Canadian division
"We do know that when itís the intelligence service that is the first or the only person visiting someone in detention, that can certainly colour that situation in a way that can have other implications," Homes said.