Torture rife in Afghanistan: UN

Torture rife in Afghanistan: UN

Scores of people told the UN that the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and the Afghan National Police had physically or mentally abused them, using beatings, electrocution and toenail removal, according to the report.

But the head of the UN in Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, said that torture was neither institutional nor government policy, and praised the ministry and intelligence agency for allowing access to their prisons for research.

The Afghan government rejected many of the allegations, but conceded there may have been some abuse, and added that steps were being taken to prevent further problems.

Interviews with 379 pre-trial detainees and convicted prisoners were conducted at 47 different facilities by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) from October 2010 to August 2011.

The report said 324 of the detainees were accused of crimes related to the war.
There was systematic torture found at five NDS “facilities”, the report said, and “multiple, credible allegations” of torture at two others. There were also some allegations from 17 other facilities that the UN said it was still investigating.
UNAMA said almost half of those it interviewed at NDS facilities experienced interrogation techniques that constituted torture. Of those in police facilities, more than a third of the 117 suspected insurgents or those believed to be assisting militants told UNAMA they had been subjected to torture or inhumane treatment. Beyond physical mistreatment, which included sexual humiliation, many prisoners also said they had been held beyond the maximum duration allowed by law and denied family visits.

The United Nations said Afghanistan’s difficult security situation did not justify any mistreatment.

False claims?
The intelligence agency said in an official response that “reference has been made to some issues that are not in conformity with work principles of the NDS,” and specifically rejected some allegations of mistreatment.

“Torture methods such as electric shock, threat of rape, twisting of sexual organs etc. are methods that are absolutely non-existent in the NDS,” an official government response said.

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