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Prisoners tortured at Afghan jails: UN

Prisoners tortured at Afghan jails: UN

Oct 10, 2011 - 20:38

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The United Nations in a report on Monday said Afghan officials used torture while investigating suspected militants kept in some detention centers. The report comes weeks after NATOinfo-icon troops halted the transfer of prisoners to Afghan authorities because of alleged mistreatment.

Detainees endured treatment that amounted to torture in 47 detention facilities, run by Afghan police and intelligence service, in 24 of the country’s 34 provinces, the report found.

The 74-page report raised particular concerns about detention centers run by the Afghan intelligence agency, known as the National Directorate of Security, or NDSinfo-icon, which held an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 detainees during the period when the investigation took place.

It found “compelling evidence” that 46 percent of the detainees interviewed who had been in NDS detention centers had been tortured and that “torture is practiced systematically in a number of NDS detention facilities throughout Afghanistaninfo-icon.” Most of the torture, the report said, was intended to extract confessions or information. The United Nations “also found that children under the age of 18 years experienced torture by NDS officials.”

Detainees described being hung by their wrists, beaten with rubber hoses, electric cables, wires or sticks, electric shocks on their bodies and soles of their feet, removal of toe nails, “twisting and wrenching” of genitals, and threatened sexual abuse, the report said.

“Such practices amounting to torture are among the most serious human rights violations under international law, are crimes under Afghan law and are strictly prohibited under both Afghan and international law,” the report said.

The findings were based on interviewsinfo-icon conducted over an 11-month period ending in August with nearly 400 pretrial detainees. Of those interviewed, 324 had been arrested for alleged crimes related to the war.

More than a third of the 117 conflict-related detainees interviewed who were held by the Afghan National Police also suffered treatment amounting to torture or other cruel, inhuman degrading treatment, the report said.

Out of concern about prisoner mistreatment, the NATO coalition said last month that it had stopped transferring detainees it arrested to 16 Afghan-run detention centers. The UN report said Afghan authorities were taking steps to address the problem.

PAN Monitor/ma


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