Inmate abuse at US-run jail alleged
KABUL (PAN): An investigative commission, accusing US forces of abuses at their detention facility at the Bagram airfield in central Parwan province, on Saturday recommended the release of inmates held without charge.
On Thursday, a statement from President Hamid Karzai's office said a commission had been tasked to transfer Bagram prisoners into full Afghan government control in a month's time.
Karzai's order came after he was briefed on a report detailing many violations of the Afghan Constitution and other laws of the country, relevant international conventions and human rights at the prison, the statement said.
The report was presented by the chairman of the Constitutional Oversight Commission, Gul Rahman Qazi, the President Office said.
Qazi told a press conference in Kabul on Saturday that detainees interviewed at the US-run portion of the prison during two visits complained of freezing cold, humiliating strip searches and being deprived of light.
Qazi, who led the investigation, quoted US officials as saying they had delayed turning over 90 percent of the estimated 3,000 detainees because suspected militants were too dangerous to be freed. He said they were told only 300 of the nearly 3,000 detainees had cases against them.
Sayed Noorullah, another investigator, stressed the prison must be transferred to Afghan control as soon as possible. He added if there was no evidence against the inmates, they had the right to be freed.
On Thursday, the US said it was in talks with the Karzai government on the transfer of the prison to Afghan control
“We have been working, as you know, for some time with the Afghan government on appropriate timing and pace for transfer of the detention facilities,” Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokesperson, told reporters.
US and Afghan militaries jointly run the facility, but the Afghan side controls a small part with about 300 detainees whose cases are slated to be tried by courts. The US military runs the larger portion of the prison.
“We’re going to continue to work with the Afghan government to implement the transition that we have both agreed needs to happen of detention operations in Afghanistan. We need to do this in a manner that is maximally responsible. That’s what we want to do, and we’re going to keep working on it,” Nuland said.
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