The nonprofit human rights law firm Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) [advocacy website] released a report [materials] on Thursday detailing the conditions at Bagram Prison [official website] in Afghanistan, a facility that detains non-Afghan prisoners of the US despite not being under US control [JURIST report] since March. According to the JPP, many of these detainees are being held indefinitely without charges, trial or access to a lawyer. Many prisoners have testified to being captured and held in the prison without ever being told about the basis for their detainment. The report proffers:
With the US withdrawal of combat forces on the horizon, and the handover of Afghan detainees to Afghan authorities now complete, the continued detention of third-country nationals raises the specter of another Guantanamo Bay on Afghan soil.The US government continues to house at least 60 non-Afghan prisoners [NBC News report] at the Bagram facility, including around 40 Pakistanis.
The rights of Afghan detainees at Bagram has been a controversial issue. Last November Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai said that US forces were capturing and holding Afghans in violation of a detainee transfer pact [JURIST report] and that US forces should turn over that responsibility to Karzai's forces. Karzai's statement urged Afghan officials to make efforts toward obtaining entire responsibility for Bagram prison. Listed abuses included Afghan detainees held by US forces despite Afghan rulings to the contrary and the continued arrest of Afghans by US forces. JURIST Guest Columnist Ken Roach recently discussed the issue of prisoners seeking substitute justice [JURIST op-ed] in the courts of other democracies.