British forces holding dozens in Helmand
KABUL (PAN): As the Afghan government is all poised to take full control of the Bagram detention centre, dozens of detainees captured by the British military in southern Helmand province remain in legal limbo, a report said on Monday.
Having halted transfers to Afghan jails over torture concerns, Britain could come under pressure from the government of President Hamid Karzai to cede control of prisoners, The Guardian newspaper reported.
Once the Bagram prison is handed over to local authorities, the United Kingdom will be the only foreign power still holding Afghans on their own soil. Karzai has long slammed foreign-run jails as a serious violation of national sovereignty.
“The prisoners are not being tried in either the UK or Afghan judicial systems, but British commanders are not willing to release men they consider dangerous militants,” the daily said, indicating Karzai could insist on inmate transfers.
Preparations for the handover of the Bagram jail were reviewed on Sunday at a National Security Council (NSC) meeting, chaired by President Karzai, his office said. A ceremony marking the transfer is slated for today.
On Saturday, the Pentagon announced the detention facility would be transferred to Afghans, saying the two countries had reached an agreement, meeting one of the key demands of the Karzai administration.
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