For the rich and well-connected, the Afghan criminal justice system is remarkably convenient, with a simple phone call to an influential police officer or judge usually sufficient to ensure release without any formal charges, even for those arrested under severe circumstances. But the UN warns that for poorer citizens, the situation is far more onerous.

Speaking at a news conference today in Kabul, UN drug and crime agency in Afghanistan head Christina Oguz revealed that at least half of Afghanistan’s prisoners are being held without having faced a trial. Those without connections find themselves detained for an indefinite period of time awaiting a trial in a bribery-heavy system.

To make matters worse poor citizens find, even having been convicted of a crime and served their sentences, they are being held past their release date for being unable to pay fines or bribe their way out.

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