Karzai Calls for Torture Investigation

But skeptics doubt it's a serious effort
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2013 2:19 PM CST
Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Jan. 14, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ahmad Jamshid)

(Newser) – Hamid Karzai has ordered an investigation into reports of torture at Afghanistan's prisons, in the wake of a UN report claiming that nearly a third of detainees NATO had transferred into Afghan custody had been abused or tortured. But the team Karzai appointed includes advisers from the interior ministry and the National Directorate of Security, both of which were implicated in the UN report, al-Jazeera reports.

Afghanistan's initial response to the report was to deny it. "If we rip out people's fingernails, then show the scars. Prove it," one official was quoted as saying. Now Karzai is promising the team will "fully investigate" the claims, and report back in two weeks "so that follow-up measures can be taken," according to Radio Free Europe. But one Kabul lawyer predicts the panel will conveniently find nothing. "They will only speak in front of NDS authorities, to people they are confident will not speak up."

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