Green MP Keith Locke is pressing the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee, of which he is a member, to hold an inquiry to assess new evidence regarding prisoners our SAS have handed over to United States and Afghan authorities.
The evidence, published in the May issue of Metro, was reinforced by footage on TV last week where Afghans our SAS handed over to American jurisdiction in 2002 described being seriously mistreated by United States forces.
Last weekend Mr Locke called for an independent inquiry, but this has been rejected by the Prime Minister, John Key. Mr Locke says he has not given up trying for an independent inquiry, and a Select Committee inquiry would complement this.
“In 2001 our Parliament voted to send the SAS to Afghanistan,” said Mr Locke.
“It is therefore appropriate there is parliamentary monitoring of whether our forces have operated in accordance with international humanitarian law.
“Metro journalist Jon Stephenson has provided video and other evidence that prisoners the SAS handed over were badly mistreated.
“The Select Committee also needs to scrutinise the position advanced by the New Zealand Defence Force, that our SAS isn’t responsibile for prisoners taken on its many joint operations with the Afghan Crisis Response Unit because the CRU is the ‘detaining authority’.
“Jon Stephenson has come forward with strong evidence that New Zealand forces are detaining Afghan prisoners despite official denials that this happens.
“Those in charge of our Defence Forces need to explain how their previous statements are contradicted by the direct evidence from those detained by our SAS, or on-the-spot witnesses.
“I will be circulating a letter to Committee members proposing an inquiry prior to our next meeting on May 5.”