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Broken Justice at Bagram for Afghans, and for Foreign Prisoners Held by the US

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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 10:49 AM
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Broken Justice at Bagram for Afghans, and for Foreign Prisoners Held by the US

Andy Worthington

So whats happening at Bagram, the main US prison in Afghanistan, which has been wracked by scandals, including a number of murders, and allegations of torture and abuse and since it opened in December 2001?

Unrecognizable since those early days, the prison at Bagram once housed in a Soviet-era machine shop is now in an entirely new building, known as the Detention Facility in Parwan. This, according to the Pentagon, is part of a larger Afghan Justice Center in Parwan, which will become Afghanistans central location for the pre-trial detention, prosecution and post-trial incarceration of national security suspects.

Bagram only occasionally attracts media attention, but in February the prison in its new location was officially relaunched as part of Americas revised approach to detention in the Afghan warzone, with more focus on rehabiitation, and less on punishment and isolation. At the time, I was too busy to write about or to cross-post reports by journalists who visited the facility for this relaunch whose reports were published in the Huffington Post, Stars and Stripes and McClatchy Newspapers so I thought Id gather them together here, for anyone else who missed them, as part of my special coverage of Bagram this week. This coverage includes an update to the definitive Bagram prisoner list (the updated prisoner list is here), and Voices from Bagram, a three-part series drawing on the Detainee Review Boards at Bagram, and featuring rare examples of the testimony of prisoners.

I was planning to do a clever edit of these three articles, but instead Im going to content myself with cross-posting them in their entirety, as they all have something to offer. First up is an article in the Huffington Post on February 13 by Daphne Eviatar of Human Rights First, looking primarily at the problems with clearing foreign prisoners for release, but then continuing to hold them (something that also has echoes at Guantnamo). This is based on a useful analysis of the work of the Detainee Review Boards, introduced by President Obama in September 2009, which are used to formalize detention at Parwan/Bagram, in a form that is an improvement on the Bush years, but is still problematical, not only because they are not leading to the release of foreign prisoners, thereby undermining their credibility, as Daphne explains, but also because they still bear no resemblance to the Geneva Conventions, which were throughly sidelined by the Bush administration, and are stlll, it seems, missing in action under President Obama.
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