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Report says U.S. military mistreating Afghan prisoners

By AFP
October 16, 2010

A prison cell in Afghanistan (AFP)

The US military is mistreating detainees — and violating its own rules — at a secret prison in Afghanistan, a US think tank said Friday in a report.

The 16-page report by the Open Society Foundation said Afghans call the secret site “Tor Jail,” or “Black Jail,” and that consistent accounts from detainees refer to being kept without adequate shelter or food or other basic rights.

The Pentagon quickly rejected abuses, but said it was looking into the allegations.

“The Department of Defense does not operate any ‘secret prisons,'” a spokesman said.

Any classified “temporary screening/detention facilities” operate under international regulations and are known to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the spokesman said.

However, the spokesman said officials had “received the report from (Open Society) and are reviewing it.”

The report from Open Society, which is financed by US billionaire George Soros, said the allegedly secret facility was on Bagram Air Base, outside Kabul, but was not the same as the already well documented Bagram detention facility.

“Detainees state that they were held in excessively cold isolation cells; supplied inappropriate or inadequate food, bedding, and blanketing; denied exposure to natural light; unable to carry out their religious duties; restricted from exercise; and kept from meeting with the International Committee of the Red Cross,” Open Society said.

It said that some detainees claimed to have been held there as recently as this year.

“The allegations about Tor Jail should be taken seriously by the Obama administration, which has sought to reform detention practices in Afghanistan,” said Jonathan Horowitz, author of the report.

The Pentagon said it always treated prisoners “humanely.”

“The United States requires that all DOD detention operations meet a high standard of humane care and custody,” the spokesman said.

The US military has been under the scrutiny of rights groups for years after revelations of abuse at prisons in Iraq and at CIA “black sites,” and in the light of controversy over the military facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Copyright © 2010 AFP

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4 Responses to Report says U.S. military mistreating Afghan prisoners

  1. Carl Nemo

    October 16, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Evidently the U.S. military didn’t learn anything from the Abu Ghraib debacle.

    A bunch of over educated “sick thugs” are now running our national defense organizations and seemingly have a love affair with “secret prisons” and no doubt torture too… / : |

    Secretary Gates…please tender your resignation asap!

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. b mcclellan

    October 16, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Seemingly we have become that which we sought to quash. Planet of the apes anyone?

  3. freecitizen

    October 16, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    During his campaign, Obama promised to close Gitmo, due to the fact that the abuse to detainee’s that happened there caused the US to “take a hit” throughout the middle east while trying to win “hearts and minds” of the people who’s country we were occupying. It still is not closed and was merely symbolic of Obama to attempt to close it, thinking that this would, to a degree, “restore” some respect to the US in the middle east.

    This was the duplicity of Obama in that in 2009, Obama’s justice dept argued in front of a federal court, that those detainee’s in the Bagram detention facility had no “rights” whatsoever, agreeing and using the very arguements that Bush made. So, Obama wanting to close Gitmo, just so that another prison elsewhere could be used as a legal blackhole, was a complete sham.

  4. b mcclellan

    October 16, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    From the desk of the Decider right on through the present Warehouseman of the waffle irons of injustice, our Lady of liberty suffers the cold winds of tyranny in the tatters of her once proud robes.