Sunday, July 05, 2009
Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib... Bagram? INVESTIGATION: US detention centre under suspicion as eerily familiar claims of torture and rendition flights
Habib was an inmate at the Bagram Theater Internment Facility, an American military detention center outside Kabul. Now, for the first time, detailed allegations of widespread abuse and neglect have been made about this top-secret camp.
"I didn't think a prison like Bagram ever existed on earth. It is a place that has no rules or law," says Sabrullah, another ex-inmate.
Over a period of more than two months, we tracked down 27 former detainees. There were others, but they were afraid to speak or had been warned not to. Just two said they had been treated well. Many allegations of ill-treatment appear repeatedly in the interviews; physical abuse, the use of stress positions, excessive heat or cold, unbearably loud noise, being forced to remove clothes in front of female soldiers and in four cases, being threatened with death at gunpoint.
The account of an inmate known as Dr Khandan is one of the most harrowing. He says he was kept in isolation for months and treated worse than an animal: "They deprived us of sleep, they put us in a cold room and turned the air conditioning on and would take away the blanket. They poured cold water on you in winter and hot water in summer. They used dogs against us. They put a pistol to your head and threatened you with death. They put some kind of medicine in the water to make you sleepless and then they would interrogate you."
All the men who spoke to us were interviewed in isolation and they were all asked the same questions. They were held at times between 2002 and 2008 and they were all accused of belonging to or helping al-Qaeda or the Taliban.None of the inmates were charged with any offense or put on trial; some even received apologies when they were released. ... by Ian Pannell, BBC Afghanistan Correspondent
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