Britain Reveals Its Version of Guantanamo

As many as 90 Afghans being held without trial at Camp Bastion
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2013 7:35 AM CDT
Britain Reveals Its Version of Guantanamo
In this photo taken Dec. 11, 2012 and made available Monday Jan. 21 2013 a general view of some of the more luxurious accommodation in Camp Bastion southern Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/ John Stillwell, Pool)

(Newser) – Britain is taking a page out of the US' book, quietly running a prison in Afghanistan where 80 to 90 people have been held without charges for as long as 14 months. Defense Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed the prison's existence at Camp Bastion to the BBC today, after lawyers for eight of the detainees revealed the existence of what they termed a "secret" prison. A rep for the firm likened the facility to Guantanamo Bay, said it was "entirely unconstitutional," and claimed that even Parliament was unaware of it.

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In a radio appearance, Hammond said the UK was holding "far more people than we would like to be holding" at its "temporary holding facility" at Camp Bastion, but said the notion that the facility was secret was "patently absurd." Reuters reports that he said that those being held are alleged to have murdered British soldiers and planted roadside bombs. Afghanistan isn't happy about the news, with a spokesman for its Ministry of Defense calling the practice illegal and inhumane, and saying the prisoners "must be handed over to the Afghan authorities." Among those prisoners, per the BBC: a teenager and 20-year-old father who have been held for at least a year; their families say the Red Cross helped them track the down the men, whose interrogation wrapped up "many months ago." (Read more Britain stories.)

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