Samar calls for action over CIA torture
KABUL (Pajhwok): Expressing concern about the killing of civilians and torture of detainees, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) chairperson on Sunday asked the United States to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Last week, the US Senate accused the CIA of using brutal but ineffective techniques in interrogating detainees during the Bush administration. CIA’s secret questioning of al Qaeda detainees and other prisoners in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania and Thailand continued from 2002 to 2006.
The harsh techniques the spy service used on detainees after the 9/11 attacks had been in effective, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said in an explosive report.
One of the techniques was sleep deprivation that involved keeping detainees awake for up to 180 hours, usually standing or in painful stress positions, at times with their hands shackled above their heads.
Al Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah became completely unresponsive after a period of intense water-boarding so much so that he had bubbles rising through his mouth.
AIHRC chief Sima Samar told a gathering on human rights day in Kabul: "We strongly condemn the practice of torture and want the US government to hold the perpetrators accountable."
She slammed torture as a violation of human dignity and an international crime that was not acceptable under any circumstances. "It is a very important issue for us. Unfortunately, torture happened in Afghanistan which has ratified the Convention Against Torture…”
She hoped the current government would take serious measure to pursue the issue prevent the practice in future. In the areas of human rights, she acknowledged, a lot of progress had been made. But problems like the culture of impunity, violence against women and children and lack of law enforcement still existed.
Samar voiced her concern at insecurity and killings of civilians in the country, urging the warring parties to observe international law. "Every day we witness civilian casualties in Afghanistan, attacks on civilians and destruction of civilian sites in clear violation of international law."
Civilian casualties could not be justified, she insisted, saying: “We strongly urge the parties to abide by laws and those who are found guilty be brought to justice.”
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