For Immediate Release: September 6, 2012
New York City – On Monday, Sept. 10, the United States is scheduled to hand over most of the Bagram prison to Afghan officials, a largely symbolic move to signify the end of U.S. detention authority in Afghanistan. Human Rights First cautions that despite the partial transfer of authority, the prison will remain a legal black hole for those detained in it.
“Thousands of Afghans will continue to be detained in Bagram with similarly limited rights, based on the advice of the U.S. military,” said Human Rights First’s Daphne Eviatar. “And the U.S. will continue to imprison approximately 50 non-Afghans at Bagram, who are denied the right to see the evidence against them, to have a lawyer represent them, or even to a hearing before a neutral judge. Their indefinite detention without the minimum requirements of due process will continue.”
Human Rights First has long advocated that non-Afghan prisoners be repatriated, charged, or released. Last year, the organization documented the U.S. failure to meet the minimum standards of due process required by international law. Its 2011 report, Detained and Denied, was based on Human Rights First’s observations of the hearings provided to Bagram detainees and interviews of former detainees recently released from U.S. custody.
“The U.S remains responsible for what happens to the Afghan detainees scheduled for transfer,” concluded Eviatar. “It must ensure they are treated humanely and provided basic rights by the Afghan government. So far, it is not clear that is going to happen.”