An Afghan investigative commission accused the American military on Saturday of abusing detainees in the Bagram prison facilities and reiterated President Hamid Karzai’s demand that the U.S. turn the detainees over to Afghan custody.
The U.S. is holding about 3,000 detainees at Bagram, many of whom have not been charged with a crime, have seen no evidence against them, and do not have the right to be represented by a lawyer, in addition to being exposed to harsh conditions.
The head of the Afghan investigation said U.S. officials told him many of them were captured based on intelligence that can’t be used in Afghan courts.
Detainees interviewed by the investigators spoke of being held in freezing cold cells, forced nudity, physical abuse, and extended isolation. Daphne Eviatar, an attorney for Human Rights First who investigated Bagram detainees months ago said “It’s worse than Guantanamo, because there are fewer rights.”
U.S. officials have described the Bagram detainees as too difficult to try, and too dangerous to release. But Afghan investigator Sayed Noorullah said the prison must be transferred to Afghan control “as soon as possible,” adding that “If there is no evidence … they have the right to be freed.”