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Up to 90 Afghans being held by British forces

Up to 90 Afghans being held by British forces

May 29, 2013 - 16:53

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Up to 90 Afghan citizens are being held by British troops at Camp Bastion in southern Helmand province, the UK’s defence secretary admitted on Wednesday.

Parliament had been informed about the detention of Afghan suspects, Philip Hammond told BBC. However, he would not say how long some had been held. The precise number of detainees fluctuated, he added.

Ministry of Defence spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi claimed the detentions were unlawful and inhumane. "The prisoners must be handed over to the Afghan authorities."

Eight of the men had been detained for up to 14 months without charge, their British lawyers, who urged the UK High Court to free the detainees. British forces in Afghanistaninfo-icon can detain suspects for 96 hours.

Their release would pose a threat to British troops, said the defence secretary, who rejected claims that the UK was running a secret detention facility in Afghanistan.

Public Interest Lawyers, a British legal firm, insisted the detention of the eight men was in clear breach of UK and international law -- a claim denied by the Ministry of Defence.

A statement from the MoD said: "The UK's temporary holding facilities at Camp Bastion are regularly monitored by the ICRC. All UK detentions in Afghanistan are legal under the UN mandate and comply with all applicable international obligations."




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