Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 2 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend (2 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Article Stats   1 comment

OpEdNews Op Eds

Abu Ghraib Redux

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 2 of 3 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H3 12/9/11

Become a Fan
  (11 fans)

UNAMA found compelling evidence that NDS officials at five facilities systematically tortured detainees for the purpose of obtaining confessions and information. These are the provincial NDS facilities in Herat, Kandahar, Khost and Laghman, and the national facility of the NDS Counter-Terrorism Department 124 (formerly Department 90) in Kabul.   

UNAMA received multiple, credible allegations of torture at two other provincial NDS facilities in Kapisa and Takhar. UNAMA did not find indications of torture at two provincial NDS facilities, Paktya and Uruzgan, at the time of its visits to these facilities.   

UNAMA received numerous allegations regarding the use of torture at 15 other locations covering 17 NDS facilities. Twenty-five percent of detainees interviewed in these 17 facilities alleged they had been tortured. At the time of writing of this report, UNAMA had not established the credibility of the allegations based on the number of interviews conducted and the need to corroborate allegations satisfactorily. UNAMA continues to investigate these allegations.   

Detainees in ANP custody reported that abuse occurred in a broader range of circumstances and settings. Some of this abuse constituted torture while other methods amounted to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Reports of abuse by the ANP included police officers committing torture or ill-treatment at the time of arrest, at check posts, at district headquarters, and at provincial headquarters.  

The UN notes that the Government of Afghanistan is obliged under Afghan law and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to investigate promptly all acts of torture and other ill-treatment, prosecute those responsible, provide redress to victims and prevent further acts of torture.   

The Government's obligation to respect the prohibition against torture    is also non-derogable meaning that no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, can be invoked as a justification of torture.  

UNAMA's detention observation included interviews with 89 detainees who reported the involvement of international military forces either alone or together with Afghan forces in their capture and transfer to NDS or ANP custody. UNAMA found compelling evidence that 19 of these 89 detainees were tortured in NDS custody and three in ANP custody.   

  The situation described in this report of transfer to a risk of torture speaks to the need for robust oversight and monitoring of all transfers of detainees to NDS and ANP custody by international military forces in Afghanistan, and suspension of transfers to facilities where credible reports of torture exist.  

Canada and the United Kingdom ceased transfers of detainees to NDS facilities in Kandahar and Kabul at various times in recent years based on reports of torture and ill-treatment. These countries implemented post-transfer monitoring schemes allowing them to track the treatment of detainees their armed forces handed over to Afghan authorities. The United States Embassy recently finalized plans for a post-transfer detainee monitoring program and a proposal is with the Government of Afghanistan for its consideration.  

UNAMA found that accountability of NDS and ANP officials for torture and abuse is weak, not transparent and rarely enforced. Limited independent, judicial or external oversight exists of NDS and ANP as institutions and of crimes or misconduct committed by NDS and ANP officials including torture and abuse.   

Most cases of crimes or abusive or unprofessional conduct by NDS officials are addressed internally. Senior NDS officials advised UNAMA that NDS investigated only two claims of torture in recent years, neither of which led to charges being pursued against the accused.  

The Embassy advised UNAMA that it regards the program as a positive way for the US to continue its work with the Government to ensure its detention system is safe, secure and humane.  

In early July 2011, US and ISAF military forces stopped transferring detainees to NDS and ANP authorities in Dai Kundi, Kandahar, Uruzgan    and Zabul based on reports of a consistent practice of torture and mistreatment of detainees in NDS and ANP detention facilities in those areas. In early September 2011, in response to the findings in his report, ISAF stated that it stopped transferring detainees to certain NDS and ANP installations as a precautionary measure.   

In almost all criminal cases in Afghanistan, including national security prosecutions, the case against the defendant is based on a confession, which the court usually finds both persuasive and conclusive of the defendant's guilt. In most cases confessions are the sole form of evidence or corroboration submitted to courts to support prosecutions. Confessions are rarely examined at trial and rarely challenged by the judge or defense counsel as having been coerced.   

Under Afghan law, where a confession is obtained illegally or forced, for example, under torture, it should be inadmissible in court. However, even in cases where defense lawyers raise the issue of forced confession through torture, courts usually dismiss the application and allow the confession to be used as evidence. This evidentiary practice clearly violates the letter and spirit of the law and is inconsistent with many expert studies that show information gained by torture is manifestly unreliable and non-probative of an individual's guilt or innocence.  

Another weakness in procedural safeguards for detainees in NDS custody is the lack of access to counsel. Despite the right of all detainees under Afghan law to a defense lawyer at all stages of the process, only one of the 324 detainees UNAMA interviewed in ANP or NDS detention reported they had defense counsel. Almost all defense lawyers and legal aid providers informed UNAMA they had minimal access to NDS facilities as NDS officials deliberately prevented them from accessing detainees. NDS officials told UNAMA they deny detainees' access to defense lawyers for fear they will influence detainees and hinder NDS investigations. Defense counsel reported they generally had better access to detainees held in ANP facilities but only after ANP investigating officials presented the case to the prosecutor.   

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

http://billfisher.blogspot.com

William Fisher has managed economic development programs in the Middle East and elsewhere for the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development. He served in the international affairs area in the Kennedy Administration and now (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Silence of the Sheep

Liberties Lost Since 9/11

Law Professors Outraged by Senate Vote on Indefinite Detention

BAHRAIN: UNION LEADERS ON HUNGER STRIKE

Feel Safer Now?

The Torture Memos: Rationalizing the Unthinkable -- A Must-Read.

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
1 people are discussing this page, with 1 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Is this article holding the Afghan government t... by Paul Repstock on Friday, Dec 9, 2011 at 11:15:01 AM