NATO suspends Afghan jail transfer fearing torture of prisoners

Eight jails run by Afghan intelligence service, the NDS and the Afghan police were allegedly involved.


Afp September 07, 2011

KABUL: NATO's military coalition in Afghanistan has suspended the transfer of prisoners to some Afghan jails following allegations of torture in an as-yet unpublished UN report, the force confirmed Wednesday.

The move comes after the report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) claimed some prisoners were beaten with rubber hoses and threatened with sexual assault at the prisons, the BBC reported.

Eight jails run by Afghan intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and the Afghan police were allegedly involved, the BBC said.

"With appropriate caution, ISAF has taken the prudent measure to suspend detainee transfer to certain facilities until we can verify the observations in a pending UNAMA report," a NATO spokesman said in a statement.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is the 140,000-strong, NATO-led military force in Afghanistan which is fighting the Taliban-led insurgency.

UNAMA would not give details of the report before publication but said it had not found "institutional" mistreatment of prisoners taking place.

The report was being finalised and its findings had been shared with the Afghan government including the NDS, UNAMA spokesman Dan McNorton said.

"We understand that they are taking the findings very seriously and proposing a series of remedial actions. Our findings indicate that the mistreatment of detainees is not an institutional or government policy of the government of Afghanistan." said McNorton.

When alleged Afghan insurgents are detained by international forces, they are increasingly passed on to the Afghan justice system.

However, it is thought the claims relate to all prisoners, including ordinary criminals.

Reports earlier this month said the US had delayed handing control of the giant Parwan Detention Centre near the Bagram Airfield military base north of Kabul to Afghan officials until at least 2014 from a previous deadline of 2012.

The Washington Post cited anonymous US officials saying the delay was linked to concerns about the capacity of Afghan officials to cope and fears that dangerous insurgents could slip through the net.

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