New report lifts lid on torture in Afghan prisonsAgene France-Presse . Kabul
A new report suggests that torture in Afghan prisons is more widespread than previously thought and that detainees arrested by US troops have been tortured after being transferred to Afghan custody.
Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission raised ‘serious concerns’ about US policies on detainee transfers and safeguards to make sure that the United States is not complicit in torture.
It said detainees were tortured at nine National Directorate of Security (NDS) prisons and at several police centres, based on monitoring and interviews with more than 100 detainees between February 2011 and January 2012.
Beatings, being suspended from the ceiling, electric shocks, threatened or actual sexual abuse, and other forms of abuse, were used routinely to obtain confessions or other information, the Commission said.
‘Four of the NDS facilities where torture was documented were also identified by a recent United Nations report as practicing torture. Monitors also found evidence of torture at five additional NDS facilities,’ it said.
Several methods of torture, previously denied by the NDS, such as electric shocks and threats of sexual abuses, were also confirmed in interviews.
The report, ‘Torture, Transfers and Denial of Due Process’, also found ‘credible evidence’ that some detainees transferred to Afghan authorities by international forces had been tortured.
‘Ten cases were documented of individuals detained by US forces between May 2010 and January 2012, and then transferred to NDS facilities where they alleged they were subsequently tortured,’ the report said.
Last October, a UN report accused the Afghan security forces of systematically torturing detainees, including children, in detention centres.
After that, the Commission said NATO’s US-led mission suspended all detainee transfers to facilities of concern, initiated a regime to address problems and proposed an ambitious monitoring programme.
But it said the monitoring system may not be sufficient and that the United States had failed to implement a monitoring procedure for detainees arrested by US troops, such as special forces, who operate outside the NATO mission.
US-led foreign combat troops are scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan and transfer responsibility for national security to Afghans by the end of 2014.
As part of that transition process, the United States earlier this month signed a deal set to transfer authority for a controversial US-run prison at Bagram airbase to Afghans within six months.
‘Urgent action is required, and the Afghan government, with the support of its international partners, must take immediate, effective steps to address mistreatment and torture of conflict-related detainees,’ the report said.
comments powered by Disqus
The Philippines warned Monday that negotiations with Muslim rebels to end a decades-old insurgency in the troubled south is approaching a ‘stalemate.’ The government in February said it aimed to... Full story
Tens of thousands of loyalists of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr rallied in south Iraq Monday decrying poor services and rampant graft on the ninth anniversary of the US-led invasion against Saddam Hussein. Full story
At least eight people were killed and 15 others wounded in clashes between Pakistani troops and militants in the restive north-western tribal belt, officials said Monday. Full story
Fears are growing for the future of tens of thousands of refugees uprooted by ethnic conflict in northern Myanmar, despite the reformist government’s talk of peace with the rebels. Full story
At least four people, including three children, were killed, when a man on a scooter opened fire outside a Jewish school in Toulouse in south-western France on Monday, officials said. Full story
Indian Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi quit on Sunday after he raised fares on the vast but creaking network, underscoring the government’s inability to take unpopular policy steps and adding to speculation the unsteady ruling.. Full story
South Korea accused North Korea Monday of trying to develop a nuclear-armed missile through a satellite launch next month, after Pyongyang dismissed international calls to abandon the exercise. Full story
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party on Monday decried what it described as ‘unfair treatment’ by the authorities ahead of April 1 by-elections. Full story
Fierce clashes between rebel troops and Syrian forces rocked a Damascus district bristling with security facilities on Monday, just hours before experts sent by peace envoy Kofi Annan arrived in the capital. Full story
Mitt Romney has scored a resounding win in Puerto Rico’s Republican primary, gaining momentum in a usually overlooked race with newfound significance in the hotly contested White House race. Full story
The US president Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and its Democratic allies raised more than $45 million in February, increasing their financial haul compared to January as worries mount that Republicans... Full story
Bahrain’s Shia-ruled opposition expressed on Monday readiness for dialogue with authorities to end the political deadlock in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, but demanded a referendum on the outcome. Full story
Tunisian president’s office has warned of attempts to sow division inside the country, after a series of incidents that highlight the growing tension between advocates of Islamist and secular values. Full story
A rural Australian gold mining and farming town famous as the birthplace of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ poet Banjo Paterson seems an unlikely home for refugees fleeing decades of conflict in Sudan. Full story
For nearly two hours on Sunday, dissident artist Ai Weiwei was able to maintain a Twitter-like microblog account, briefly raising hopes the Chinese government had relaxed some of its tight control over online expression. Full story
Maoist rebels in India who are holding two Italians hostage issued a series of demands on Monday, including a call for tourists to be banned from travelling to see indigenous tribal people. Full story