Former detainees allege abuse at US Bagram base in Afghanistan

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A view over Bagram base from the Air Traffic Control Tower
Image: Staff Sgt. Craig Seals.

The BBC claims that they have uncovered allegations of abuse and neglect at the detention facility at Bagram Air Base, a United States base in Afghanistan.

According to the BBC, they interviewed 27 men over a period of two months. Apparently, only two said they had been treated well, with others claiming they were ill-treated, by use of stress positions, removing their clothes in front of female soldiers or other situations. Four detainees claimed they were threatened with death at gunpoint.

Should the USA and allies be allowed to hold people in detention facilities like Bagram?

One inmate, known as Dr Kharden, was quoted as saying "They did things that you would not do against animals let alone to humans. They poured cold water on you in winter and hot water in summer. They used dogs against us. They put a pistol or a gun to your head and threatened you with death. They put some kind of medicine in the juice or water to make you sleepless and then they would interrogate you."

The findings were presented to the Pentagon by the BBC, who said "US defense department has a policy of treating detainees humanely. There have been well-documented instances where that policy was not followed, and service members have been held accountable for their actions in those cases."

Bagram has come under fire before, because it is out of the jurisdiction of many laws banning torture and inhumane treatment and prisoners have no access to lawyers or to a justice system.