PEOPLE DEPRIVED OF THEIR FREEDOM
Persons in US custody
Internees in the Bagram Theater Internment Facility received regular ICRC visits. In accordance with the ICRC’s standard working procedures, delegates assessed their treatment and living conditions both in the facility and, through private interviews, in the places where they had previously been held. Confidential findings and recommendations were submitted to the US authorities. People held in field detention sites before being released, handed over to Afghan custody or transferred to the Bagram facility also received ICRC visits.
In January, the US authorities and the ICRC set up a video teleconferencing system between the delegation and Bagram to help internees and their families keep in touch. Additionally in September, the US authorities and the ICRC launched a family-visit programme, allowing families to visit their relatives in Bagram.
981 internees visited, of whom 942 monitored individually (16 minors) and 385 newly registered (13 minors), during 14 visits to 6 places of detention
8,363 RCMs collected from and 3,983 RCMs distributed to internees; 2,145 calls, including video teleconference calls, facilitated between internees and family members and 2,764 phone calls made to families to inform them of the whereabouts of an interned relative
89 internees visited by their relatives, including those living in Pakistan, with ICRC support
4 detention certificates issued to former internees or their families
Nearly 100 released internees received clothing, accommodation and financial support for their journey home and one foreign internee was repatriated after being released.
Persons in NATO/ISAF custody
The ICRC conducted visits to people in eight detention facilities run by ISAF contingents in the south and south-east of the country to monitor their conditions of detention before their transfer to Afghan authority, in accordance with ISAF’s standard operating procedures. The ICRC worked with ISAF on humanitarian matters, such as the transfer of detainees to other security forces.
Persons in Afghan custody
Security detainees were monitored individually through ICRC visits, corresponded with their families via RCMs and, upon release, received clothing and their fares home. Because of their vulnerability, detained foreigners, regardless of the charges against them, were also followed individually. The ICRC also monitored the transfer of 299 Afghan nationals previously held in Bagram and Guantanamo Bay to an Afghan Defence Ministry detention facility and facilitated family visits, which the detainees received for the first time since their arrest.
Based on its findings, the ICRC made recommendations to the detaining authorities on how to improve material conditions of detention. Projects to improve water supply, sanitation, kitchens and medical facilities in prisons were carried out, with ICRC technical support. The Central Prison Department and the ICRC implemented a project to improve detainee health care through the provision of medical supplies and equipment, the rehabilitation of prison clinics, hygiene education for detainees, the training of health personnel and the promotion of more efficient management. Based in part on the ICRC’s recommendation, responsibility for medical follow-up of detainees was transferred from the Ministry of Justice to the Ministry of Public Health as part of a proposal to reform health care in detention.
12,746 detainees visited, of whom 2,583 monitored individually (23 females; 76 minors) and 1,265 newly registered (12 females; 59 minors), during 379 visits to 103 places of detention
2,159 RCMs collected from and 2,348 RCMs distributed to detainees and 242 phone calls made to families to inform them of the whereabouts of a detained relative
221 detainees visited by their relatives with ICRC support
14 released foreign detainees repatriated with ICRC support
41 detention certificates issued to former detainees or their families
8,608 detainees benefited from water/sanitation/habitat projects
Of the twenty-four former detainees interviewed for this article, seventeen claim to have been abused at or en route to these sites. Doctors, government officials and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, an independent Afghan body mandated by the Afghan Constitution to investigate abuse allegations, corroborate twelve of these claims.
In August, the administration restricted the time that detainees could be held at the military jails to two weeks, changing previous Pentagon policy. In the past, the military could obtain extensions.
The interviewed detainees had been held longer, but before the new policy went into effect. Mr. Hamidullah, who, like some Afghans, uses only one name, was released in October after five and half months in detention, five to six weeks of it in the black jail, he said.
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