UN Says Detainees Tortured in Afghan Jails

Posted October 10th, 2011 at 8:20 am (UTC-5)
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The United Nations says detainees in Afghan jails have been tortured, but that this mistreatment is not a result of government policy.

In a report released Monday, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said it found almost half of the 273 conflict-related detainees interviewed had experienced torture, as defined under international law.

UNAMA surveyed prisoners at 47 facilities in 22 provinces run by the Afghan National Police and by the country's intelligence agency — the National Directorate of Security.

The study found that in many cases, Afghan authorities used torture to obtain confessions and information from suspects. In some cases, detainees were beaten, shocked and placed in different stress positions.

The United Nations' special representative to Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, said UNAMA's findings indicate that mistreatment is not an institutional or government policy. He said the fact that the Afghan National Police and the country's intelligence agency cooperated with the study shows that reform is possible.

UNAMA says Afghan authorities have launched their own investigations into the findings and initiated remedial action to address the concerns. Afghan officials have further indicated that those responsible for torturing and mistreating individuals will be suspended and in serious cases, prosecuted.

Last month, the NATO-led force in Afghanistan stopped transferring detainees to 16 Afghan facilities, where UNAMA found evidence of torture and mistreatment by police and security officials.

At the time, Afghanistan's Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi and intelligence chief Rahmatullah Nabil rejected the allegations and questioned the timing of the decision.

International forces are in the process of handing over security responsibility to Afghanistan's army and police, which is set to be completed by the end of 2014.