US, UK run illegal facilities in Afghanistan: Karzai
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai says the United States and Britain continue running “illegal” detention facilities in the country.
“After many decrees that have been issued by the presidential palace about not having any detention centers run by foreign forces, still foreign forces are detaining Afghan and putting them in prisons,” Karzai said in a statement on Tuesday.
“It’s a clear violation of the law of Afghanistan,” he added.
Karzai’s remarks came after an investigation panel revealed that six Afghan prisoners are held at a UK-run facility at Kandahar Air Field in the country’s south and 17 others at a facility at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, which is also run by British forces.
Ghalum Farooq Barakzai, the head of the panel, said that his team has not found any prisoners at the American facilities, stressing that such facilities should no longer exist.
Under pressure from Afghan President, the US signed an agreement with Kabul to transfer its prisons and inmates into Afghan custody. British forces in the country are only allowed to hold suspects for 96 hours and can detain them longer only in exceptional conditions.
Barakzai called on Britain to hand over any Afghans held in the facilities, saying that the 23 inmates detained ranging from several weeks to 31 months.
“All the detainees should be transferred to Afghan security forces in the areas where they were arrested. Then the judicial officials in that area will investigate them and put them on trial. If they are guilty they should be jailed, if they are innocent they should be freed,” he also said.
Earlier this year, Afghan government freed dozens of detainees held in the US-run Bagram prison.
In November 2012, President Karzai ordered Afghan forces to take control of the prison and accused US officials of failing to fully comply with the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding on Detentions signed between Kabul and Washington.
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“We can’t have it both ways. We can’t be both the world’s leading champion of peace and the world’s leading supplier of arms.” – Former US President Jimmy Carter, presidential campaign, 1976
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