December 01, 2003
Evidence of Torture in US Prisons in Afganistan

The U.S. military said in March that the deaths of the two prisoners at its Afghan headquarters at Bagram Air Base in December, 2002, had been listed as homicides, and it was investigating whether criminal charges would be brought. "Although an investigation by the army's criminal investigation division was announced, no reports on progress or conclusions have been made public," William Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said in a report.

Amnesty International criticized the United States on Monday, saying a failure to make public any details of an investigation into the deaths in custody of two Afghans last year showed a "chilling disregard for human life."

"The failure to account for the prisoners' deaths indicates a chilling disregard for the value of human life," he said. "When apparent homicides occur in secret prisons, and promised investigations show no results, the country's cherished values of humane treatment and respect for the law are dishonored."

The detention center at Bagram is used to interrogate captured Taliban and al Qaeda suspects.

Mullah Habibullah, who was about 30 years old, died there on December 3, 2002, and a 22-year-old Afghan taxi driver called Dilawar died there seven days later. A report in the Washington Post in March quoted a U.S. military spokesman as saying the two had "blunt force injuries."

It said the abuses were alleged to have taken place in an interrogation section on the second floor of the Bagram detention facility, to which representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross -- who visit other parts of the facility -- were reportedly denied access.

Asked last week to comment on the Amnesty report ahead of its release, the U.S. spokesman at Bagram, Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Hilferty, said he had no information on the investigation. "If we find detainees are not anti-coalition or anti-Afghanistan, we will let them go," he said.

Posted by tstubbs at December 01, 2003 09:16 AM
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