Inquiry Panel Confirms UN Torture Report
KABUL – An official inquiry panel on Monday said its investigation confirmed detainees in several Afghanistan’s jails had been tortured, but not abused systematically. Led by Abdul Qadir Adalat Khwah, deputy head of Independent Commission for Oversight of the Implementation of the Constitution” (ICOIC), the panel spoke to 140 prisoners in Kabul, Herat and Kandahar provinces.
Half of those interviewed, 285 inmates, including 23 females, complained of being tortured, Khwah told a news conference in Kabul. President Hamid Karzai last month tasked the fact-finding delegation with investigation into a UN report that said Afghan police and intelligence men continued to physically torture detainees in Afghan-run jails, prompting a halt to the transfer of inmates at the Bagram and other jails by US forces to Afghan control.
Khwah said 48 percent of those interviewed complained of torture, threatened and physical abused and 66 percent said they had no access to legal services. “Members of the panel did not find anyone who has been sexually abused in detention or the existence of privately-run detention centres as claimed in the UNAMA report,” said Khwah, who confirmed detainees were tortured, misbehaved and threatened during interrogations.
He also said they had observed inmates were subjected to harsh living conditions amid lack of access to legal services and progress in their cases. He said they had presented a number of suggestions to the President, who would look into their findings during a meeting two days later. He said they had suggested the Attorney General Office (AGO) should be tasked with acting on the panel’s findings in order those responsible for detainee torture were brought to justice.
The panel also sought protection and other facilities for defence lawyers pleading cases of suspects from the Ministry of Interior and the National Directorate of Security (NDS). The UN report last month cited 14 types of torture, including beatings with cables and pipes, attacks on the genitals, threats of execution or rape, electric shocks and forced stress positions. It also said 81 people imprisoned in southwestern Kandahar disappeared between September 2011 and October 2012. (PAN)