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The Killid Group
Secret prisons - for what?Written by Killid commentary
Saturday, 16 April 2011 12:01
There are at least 20 prisons run by U.S.-NATO forces and intelligence groups across Afghanistan. These so-called secret prisons are not registered with the Afghan Government and are not open to human rights organizations for supervision. Who is there and how, nobody knows.
The people of Afghanistan have bitter experiences of covert and overt prisons, and the history of appalling jails where prisoners were held indefinitely and under terrible circumstances goes back centuries.
The former dynasties used to put their political opponents and military adversaries in dungeons in Deh Mazang in Kabul for years.
The Soviet-backed regimes incarcerated tens of thousands of people they perceived as subversive or unsupportive in the notorious Pole Charkhi Prison where stories of torture and executions were normal.
The Mujahideen, who came to power in 1992, established their own private jails where commanders kept people as long as they wished. During their repressive reign over most parts of the country, the Taliban even put people in jail for trimming their beards or listening to music.
In response to the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government has detained and imprisoned tens of thousands of individuals from different parts of the Islamic world on mere charges of support to al Qaeda, the Taliban or other extremist groups. Many of the suspected individuals were picked up from different cities and flown to a highly-fortified prison in the Cuban island of Guantanamo. Only the International Committee of the Red Cross has access to the Guantanamo Prison where inmates are held without access to courts and judges.
83,000 detainees worlwide
A recent investigative report by the Associated Press (AP) has found out that there are at least 20 other prisons run by U.S.-NATO forces and intelligence groups across Afghanistan. These so-called secret prisons are not registered with the Afghan Government and are not open to human rights organizations for supervision.
According to U.S. military officers quoted in the story, suspects are kept for up to 9 weeks in these covert prisons and if proved guilty - having valuable information - they will be transferred to the main prison in Bargam Airfield for further interrogations.
Over the past decade, the U.S. has detained more than 83,000 people on terrorism charges in various parts of the world but less than half of them allegedly had terrorist links.
The exact number of prisons/detention centers run by U.S. military and intelligence forces in Afghanistan and the inmates kept in them is confidential and beyond the knowledge of Afghan public. Even the Government of Afghanistan, which has a constitutional obligation to protect the life and freedom of Afghan citizens, appears to be unaware about the number, location and other circumstances of the U.S. secret prisons in its territory.
Both the Afghan Government and its U.S.-NATO allies are not short of formal prisons and detention facilities in Afghanistan where already thousands of inmates are awaiting their verdicts. A new mega-prison has recently been built by US$60 million U.S. assistance in Parwan Province where 1,900 prisoners are currently held, most of them terrorism suspects.
The two questions this editorial is raising are: what are the secret prisons for and who is responsible for them?