Conflict & Justice

UN report: Afghan prisons continue to use torture


Newly-freed Afghan prisoners walks after a ceremony handing over the Bagram prison to Afghan authorities, at the US airbase in Bagram north of Kabul on September 10, 2012. The US on September 10 formally handed control to Afghanistan of more than 3,000 detainees at a controversial prison dubbed the country's 'Guantanamo Bay', but disagreements remain over the fate of hundreds of inmates. Kabul has hailed the transfer of Bagram prison as a victory for sovereignty as NATO prepares to hand over full national security to Afghans and withdraw its combat troops by the end of 2014.


Shah Marai

A United Nations report released Sunday found that torture of detainees in Afghan prisons and intelligence facilities continues, despite a year-long effort to curb the practice. 

The report cited several instances of Afghan authorities trying to hide abuse from UN and international monitors, who first documented the torture of detainees there a year ago, the Associated Press reported

The 100-page UN report compiled 600 interviews throughout 80 detention centers across Afghanistan, and puts pressure the transfer of power from US forces to local Afghan forces, according to the Wall Street Journal

Ending detainee abuse is one of the promises made by Karzai's government in exchange for continued support after the US coalition leaves Afghanistan in 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

Under international law, prisoners cannot be handed over from one coalition or country to another if there is significant suspicion that they will be tortured, the Telegraph reported.  

Over half of prisoners have undergone torture or ill-treatment while in custody between October 2011 and October 2012, the report found, and recorded 14 different methods of torture, "including electric shocks, twisting of genitals, beatings with cables and rifle butts and suspension from the wrists or feet," the Guardian reported

Many prisoners in Kandahar city, which has some of the most deep-rooted problems with torture, have "disappeared" will in police custody, according to the report. 

Afghan officials have repeatedly denied abusing prisoners, and the government has launched an investigation into the cases referenced in the UN report, according to the AP. 

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