x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

UN: Afghan prison torture still common

The United Nations says Afghan authorities are still torturing prisoners, a year after the UN first documented abuse and the Afghan government promised detention reform.

KABUL, Afghanistan // The United Nations said yesterday that Afghan authorities were still torturing prisoners, a year after the UN first documented abuse and the Afghan government promised detention reform.

A report revealed little progress in curbing abuse, such as hanging prisoners by their wrists and beating them with cables, despite efforts by the UN and international military forces. It also cited instances where the authorities had tried to hide mistreatment from UN monitors.

The slow progress on prison reform has prompted Nato forces to again halt many transfers of detainees to Afghan authorities out of concern that they would be tortured.

In multiple detention centres, detainees are left hanging from the ceiling by their wrists, beaten with cables and wooden sticks, given electric shocks and are threatened with sexual violence or death, the report said.

In a written response to the report, the Afghan government said its monitoring committee had found "the allegations of torture of detainees were untrue and thus disproved".

It said it could not rule out the possibility of torture at detention facilities, but it was nowhere near the levels described in the report and reports of abuse were being investigated.

More than half of 635 detainees interviewed said they were tortured, the report said. That is about the same ratio the UN found in its first report in 2011.