Inmates being treated under international laws: Officials
22 January, 2013
KABUL: Security and intelligence officials on Monday insisted inmates in Afghan detention centres were being treated in compliance with domestic and international laws, claiming that jail saff members were trained on prison rights.
The explanation came a day after the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released a report, suggesting that inmates held at Afghan-run detention facilities were subjected to severe torture and abuse.
Based on interviews with hundreds of detainees between October 2011 and October 2012, the 139-page report found "credible and reliable evidence" that more than half of those interviewed experienced torture or abuse.
Brig. Gen. Amir Mohammad Jamshidi, the general director of prisons, angrily rejected the report as untrue, saying prisoners in Afghan custody were being trained and reformed through literacy and vocational courses.
"There is no reality in the report," Jamshidi said of the UNAMA findings that detainees were being subjected to hanging from the ceiling by their wrists, beating with cables and wooden sticks, electric shocks and twisting of their genitals.
Deputy Interior Minister Abdul Rahman Rahman and his National Directorate of Security (NDS) -- the spy service -- acting chief Hassamuddin Hassam rejected the UNAMA report as baseless.
At a joint press conference in Kabul, the officials claimed the Taliban had advised their men transferred to Afghan control to keep complaining of torture and abuse to UN monitors in an attempt.
Rahman said Afghan jail officials had been trained at home and abroad on how to behave with inmates. "I strongly reject the UNAMA report as baseless and untrue," remarked the interior minister, who asked the mission to share its findings with the Ministry of Interior (MoI) so that it could probe the allegations.
"Human rights officials, members of parliament and international delegations regularly visit detainees in Afghanistan's jails, but no prisoner has so far complained of being tortured," claimed Rahman, who alleged organisations like UNAMA had often been found 'creating hurdles for Afghanistan whenever it raised the question of sovereignty.
Hassam said intelligence agents treated detainees in line with international laws and conventions on rights of prisoners. He added they had taken foreign delegates and observers to Afghan-run jails around a hundred times over the past ten months.
Some delegates had exclusive meetings and conversations with detainees, Hassam said, strongly rejecting the types of torture and abuse claimed in the UN report.
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), European Union and Britain on Monday expressed grave concern at the reported torture of inmates in Afghan-run prisons, calling for urgent jail reforms and effective steps to address the issue.
Rahman and Hassam also downplayed reports that the NATO-backed Local Police Force (LPF) ran detention cells in provinces.
They spurned another report as baseless that Kandahar residence of the Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar was being used as a prison.