Afghanistan making progress reducing detainee torture

GMT 08:50 2015 Wednesday ,25 February

Arab Today, arab today Afghanistan making progress reducing detainee torture

Newly-released Afghan prisoners
Kabul - AFP

The Afghan government is making progress in reducing the torture of conflict detainees, the UN said Wednesday, though more than a third still suffer mistreatment.
In a new report, the UN said there was credible evidence that 35 percent of detainees they interviewed between February 2013 to December 2014 had suffered ill-treatment while in the custody of Afghan security forces.
This marks a fall from the UN's last report on torture, which found that 49 percent of detainees were mistreated.
The head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Nicholas Haysom welcomed the progress and urged the new government of President Ashraf Ghani to make good on its commitment to end torture.
"The Government of Afghanistan’s efforts to prevent torture and ill-treatment have shown some progress over the last two years," Haysom said.
"UNAMA welcomes the incoming Government’s commitment to implement a new national plan on elimination of torture."
The report highlights ill-treatment and torture during arrest and interrogation in numerous centres run by the National Directorate of Security -- the Afghan intelligence agency -- as well as the national police, local police and the army.
Detainees, mostly alleged members of the Taliban and other militant groups, were subjected to 16 torture techniques aimed at forcing them to confess, the report said.
These included severe beatings with pipes, cables and sticks, electric shocks and near-asphyxiation, it said.
After the last report in 2013, the president at the time, Hamid Karzai, issued a decree aimed at stopping torture.
The UN said this had helped improve the situation, with more inspections of detention centres and training in alternative interrogation techniques.
But the new report said there was still a lack of accountability, with only one prosecution brought for torture since 2010.
"UNAMA’s finding that torture of conflict-related detainees persists in spite of Government efforts over 2013-14 to address it is a source of serious concern," said UNAMA Human Rights Director, Georgette Gagnon.
Apart from torture, UNAMA said there was also evidence of the disappearance of 26 detainees held by the national police as well as extrajudicial killings by security forces.
The UN said the report was based on interviews with 790 conflict detainees between February 2013 and December 2014, as well as security, police and judicial officials, and analysis of documentary, medical and other information.


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