US ignored torture of Afghan prisoners: Report

April 18th, 2008 - 7:13 pm ICT by admin  

RIA Novosti
Washington, April 18 (RIA Novosti) A civil rights group has said it has documents from the defence department that confirm the US authorities ignored torture by Special Forces of Afghan prisoners during interrogation. A lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union Thursday said, “These documents make it clear that the military was using unlawful interrogation techniques in Afghanistan. Rather than putting a stop to these systemic abuses, senior officials appear to have turned a blind eye to them.”

US Special Forces officers admitted to using special interrogation methods, which included beating, burning and using extreme cold, on eight prisoners at Gardez prison in Afghanistan.

The use of the special interrogation techniques came to light during a criminal investigation into the death of Afghan prisoner Jamal Naseer who died at Gardez in US custody in March 2003.

The investigation stated that Naseer died of a “stomach ailment”, although no post-mortem examination was carried out to confirm the cause of death.

There were also a number of statements from witnesses alleging torture and abusive practices. However, the investigation concluded the evidence was “unsupported”.

“These documents raise serious questions about the adequacy of the military’s investigations into prisoner abuse,” Amrit Singh from the ACLU said.

Scandals surrounding the United States’ treatment of prisoners in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan have drawn widespread condemnation from the international community.

In 2004 photographs of abuse by US military personnel at Abu Ghraib prison, in Iraq, were shown on American television and in papers all over the world.

The images led to a criminal investigation and the conviction and subsequent imprisonment of a number of US personnel. The head of the prison was demoted.

However, US personnel claimed that high-ranking US officials sanctioned the interrogation methods which involved military intelligence, although a Senate panel on Abu Ghraib was told there were no “direct” or written orders authorizing the abuse of prisoners.
RIA Novosti

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