Bagram Prison Abuse Scandal
Court Martial Lawyers – Alexandra González – Waddington & Michael Waddington Attorneys at Law
Bagram Detain Abuse Overview
According to US and Afghan officials, KABUL — The US military has begun investigating allegations that two Afghan teenagers were beaten by guards in a secret detention center on Bagram Air Force Base last year. Human Rights Today has called on the United States government to respond to new allegations that Afghan detainees have been mistreated in a secret prison at Bagram Air Force Base.
American-run prison houses about 700 inmates
The detention center described by the teens appears to be a facility managed by US Special Forces, separate from Bagram Theater Detention Facility. This main American-run prison houses about 700 inmates. The teens’ accounts of the detention center coincide with those of two other former detainees who said they suffered similar mistreatment, if not beatings, while detained last year in Bagram, which Afghans call a “black prison.” US military officials took statements of two Afghan teenagers over the past month and are in contact with others who say they were held at a secret detention center at Bagram Air Force Base.
The latest allegations in Afghanistan fit a pattern of allegations of brutal treatment of former Guantanamo detainees and Afghans held by the US, reported first last year by the Guardian. Documents obtained by Guardian contain evidence that such abuse had occurred in the main prison of Bagram near Kabul city and a smaller US facility located in the southern city of Kandahar. In December 2002, two Afghan detainees died in Bagram Air Force Base; their deaths were declared a homicide by a US military doctor who conducted autopsies. Defense Department officials said they launched an investigation into the deaths in March 2003 and another Afghan died in another detention facility in Asadabad near Kunar Province. However, human Rights Watch is concerned that the investigation findings were never made public and that appropriate criminal sanctions never took place.
Synonymous with torture and ill-treatment of detainees
Like Guantanamo, Bagram, the US detention center on its vast airbase in Afghanistan, has become synonymous with torture and ill-treatment of detainees. Although some of the US Government’s most brutal torture practices have been inflicted on detainees at the Bagram Detention Centre, allegations of maltreatment and abuse continue to surface, even though only two detainees have died. Incidents of mistreatment of detainees at Bagram in 2002, including details of the deaths, were reported to American officials, who described them as isolated issues that needed to be investigated.
During this time, two Afghan prisoners, Habibullah and Dilawar, who had been hanged on their wrists, were tortured in December 2002 by US soldiers in the Bagram prison to death. Two other detainees held in late 2002 at Bagram Detention Center told a New York Times reporter they had been tied, deprived of sleep, and beaten while standing for weeks. Although, in December 2014, the United States handed over control of Bagram, a US detention center near its vast airbase in Afghanistan that has become synonymous with torture and ill-treatment of detainees, to Afghan security forces, it shirked responsibility for the men held there.
Allegations of torture and murder
All the allegations of torture and murder took place in the military prison known as the Bagram Theater, an internment facility erected by the Soviets as an aircraft machinery factory during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1980-1989. Although the US government ended brutal torture, the military continued to maintain secret “black prisons” where detainees were subjected to sleep deprivation, cold, forced nudity, and other abuses, and where detainees were cut from their families and lawyers. In addition, the website reported that the CIA tortured and code-named horrific abuses in four prisons in Afghanistan used by the CIA in 2004, one of which served as Bagram Air Base, a separate site from the Military prison where the abuses took place.
In January 2010, the US military released the names of all 645 detainees held at Bagram main prison, despite their long-standing position on releasing such information. Bagram was a collection and clearinghouse for captured detainees in Afghanistan. Up to 40 and 80 detainees were held for interrogation and eventual transfer to the Pentagon’s Long-Term Detention Center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Report is significant as the first official response
The report is significant as the first official response from the US government to the allegations of widespread abuse of detainees in Afghanistan and the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Two Afghan teenagers held in US captivity in Kabul for years, Abdul Rashid, who said he was just 16 years old, said in interviews that they were beaten and slapped by their captors at the Bagram Air Base were held in solitary confinement. In addition, Joshua Claus Claus Claus was charged with assault, mistreating a detainee, and making false statements to investigators for his participation in interrogation that led to the death of an Afghan detainee in December 2002 at Bagram Air Force Base.