July 29, 2014

Widespread torture continues in Afghan jails: UN

By Sayed Jawad - Sun Jan 20, 8:20 pm

Afghan jails tortureAccording to a UN Survey report, the use of torture has risen in Afghan police jails over the past year, and there are “credible reports” the country’s intelligence service has created secret prisons and sometimes hides detainees from international observers.

The U.N. report is to be released tomorrow, but sources who have read it tell the Wall Street Journal that it alleges widespread torture and abuse of detainees by Afghan police and intelligence authorities. Afghanistan denies some of the allegations and promises to investigate.

Last week it emerged that the US had halted transfer of detainees to some facilities amid fear over continuing human rights abuses. The new report suggests little progress has been made since 2011, when the UN described “nail-collecting factories” and detailed how detainees would have their genitals twisted.

In the meantime Aimal Faizi, a spokesman for the Afghan president, says it was not Afghan policy to torture or abuse prisoners.

He says the government has started investigating and will take action regarding cases of abuse mentioned in the U.N. report.

The UN, which surveyed 635 prisoners, said it used high standards of proof and had dismissed 51 claims that were not credible. The survey also found the nature of abuse reported differed from jail to jail, but within individual detention centres was often consistent across months and prisoners from different insurgent groups.

“It is improbable that training would be so well tailored to specific facilitie – and the pattern of allegations of ill-treatment did not correspond with any identifiable ideological agenda,” it said.

At the same time, President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly pushed for Afghan control of all prisoners in the country and raised the issue with President Barack Obama in Washington during a visit earlier this month.

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