Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai [BBC profile] said Sunday that US forces were capturing and holding Afghans in violation of a detainee transfer pact [statement] and that US forces should turn over that responsibility to Karzai's forces. Karzai's statement urged Afghan officials to make efforts towards toward obtaining entire responsibility for Bagram Prison [official website]. Listed abuses included Afghan detainees held by US forces despite Afghan rulings to the contrary and the continued arrest of Afghans by US forces. The statement comes less than a week after negotiations began on a bilateral security agreement that will govern US military presence in the country after the majority of US troops withdraw from Afghanistan after 2014. The US has delayed the handover of detention facilities to Afghanistan citing both lack of preparation by Afghan leaders in detention center management and discrepancies over treatment of detainees the US deems too dangerous to release. Both countries agreed to sign the bilateral security agreement within a year.
The rights of Afghan detainees at Bagram has been a controversial issue as of late. JURIST Guest Columnist Ken Roach recently discussed the issue of prisoners seeking substitute justice [JURIST op-ed] in the courts of other democracies. In September the US handed over Bagram [JURIST report] to Afghanistan but retained control over 600 prisoners. In February 2011 District Judge John Bates of the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] granted a motion to amend [JURIST report] petitions for writs of habeas corpus for four detainees held at Bagram. In May 2010 a panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that detainees held at Bagram could not bring habeas corpus challenges in US courts [JURIST report]. In January 2010 the US Department of Defense released a list of names [JURIST report] of 645 prisoners then detained at Bagram in response to a Freedom Of Information Act lawsuit filed [JURIST reports] by the ACLU in September 2009.