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Afghanistan: NATO halts transfer of detainees after torture allegations

last updated Sep 13, 2011

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has decided to suspend the transfer of detainees to several Afghan jails after allegations of torture have been raised in a as-yet unpublished report by the United Nations Assistance Mission Afghanistan (Unama). According to media sources, the report discloses information on systematic patterns of torture and ill-treatment in the various detention facilities.

Canadian ISAF troops in the Kandahar Province
Canadian ISAF troops in the Kandahar Province

Human rights organisations complained that the situation of detainees in Afghanistan has deteriorated since 2001, in particular due to a rise from 600 to 19,000 prisoners, according to UN figures. The BBC has identified Herat, Khost, Lagman, Kapisa, Takhar, Kunduz, Tarin Kowt and the NDS’ counter-terrorism prison (Department 124) as concerned detention facilities.

The spokesman of the UN mission, Dan McNorton, said that the Afghan government has received the report’s findings and has begun on working on a series of remedial actions. He also emphasised that the gathered information indicates “that the mistreatment of detainees is not institutional or the policy of the government of Afghanistan”.

BBC: Nato halts Afghan prisoner transfer after torture fears

NY Times: Afghan Jails Accused of Torture; NATO Limits Transfers

Afghanistan country profile