Afghanistan Routinely Tortures Prisoners: UN

'Even stones confess here,' one guard said; Kabul promises reform

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 10, 2011 11:41 AM CDT

(Newser) – A UN investigation has uncovered “a compelling pattern … of systemic torture and ill-treatment” in Afghan prisons, with prisoners reporting being beaten and shocked with electrical cables, hung by their hands, and having their genitals twisted until they passed out, the New York Times reports. Nearly half of all detainees of the National Directorate of Intelligence reported such abuse, as did a somewhat smaller portion of those held by the national police.

The interrogation methods are “unacceptable by any standard of international human rights law,” the report says. NATO has already stopped handing prisoners over to Afghan authorities based on an earlier draft of the report, and US laws may force America to cut funding for Afghan security forces. The Afghan government does not officially condone torture, and promises to improve. But its intelligence service denies much of the report—though it admits there might be “deficiencies” in its handling of detainees.

Afghan security police officers stand guard in front of the Pul-e Charkhi prison's gate in Kabul, Afghanistan in this file photo.
Afghan security police officers stand guard in front of the Pul-e Charkhi prison's gate in Kabul, Afghanistan in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq- File)
Afghan prisoners look out through a window at the Kabul's Prison in Afghanistan, May 9, 2003.
Afghan prisoners look out through a window at the Kabul's Prison in Afghanistan, May 9, 2003.   (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo-FILE)
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You should confess what you have done in the past as Taliban — even stones
confess here.
- A warning given by an interrogator at a Kandahar prison, according to an account from one detainee, who did indeed
confess under torture

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