OTTAWA - Canada's top military commander has denied Canadian soldiers detained a suspected Taliban fighter who was later badly beaten by Afghan police.

Opposition parties in the House of Commons have pointed to the June 2006 incident as proof that the Tory government knew of credible incidents of torture and of the dangers of transferring prisoners.

The chief of defence staff, Gen. Walt Natynczyk, told the House of Commons defence committee today that Canadian troops questioned but did not detain the suspect.

He says the man was released, but picked up almost immediately by Afghan police, who led him away and started beating him with their shoes.

Natynczyk says had Canadian soldiers captured the suspect, he would have been sent back to Kandahar Airfield and processed through a different system.

He says troops realized something was wrong and rescued the suspect from the Afghan police.