Posts Tagged ‘Afghan prisoners’

Torture: The Transfers of Afghan Prisoners

December 24, 2009
Letter to Canada’s House of Commons

by Lawyers Against the War

Uruknet.info, Monday, December 21, 2009

Open letter to the Parliamentary Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan

Dear Committee Members:

Chair: Rick Casson, Vice-chair: Bryon Wilfert, Members: Jim Abbott, Ujjal Dosanjh, Francine Lalonde, Claude Bachand, Laurie Hawn, Dave MacKenzie, Paul Dewar, Greg Kerr, Deepak Obhrai:

Lawyers against the War (LAW) urges the Parliamentary Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan to recommend:

The immediate cessation of transfers of people taken prisoner in Afghanistan (prisoners) by Canada, to third countries, including Afghanistan; and,

That Canada immediately undertake effective protective and remedial measures with respect to all prisoners already transferred by Canada to third countries; and,

The creation of a judicial inquiry mandated to inquire into allegations that the transfers violate Canadian and international law and to recommend the civil and criminal remedies required by law.

Continues >>

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Half of Afghan prisoners have not faced trial-U.N.

December 2, 2008
Source: Reuters

By Jonathon Burch
KABUL, Dec 1 (Reuters) – More Afghans are being detained without trial, with poor people or those without powerful connections, the most common victims, unable to pay bribes to secure their release, the United Nations said on Monday.
Afghanistan is emerging from nearly 30 years of war and its judicial and law enforcement systems are still very much in their infancy. Corruption is endemic at all levels of the police force, experts say, who often milk the populace for bribes.
“Pre-trial detention is supposed to be the exception and not the rule, but in this country it is more the rule, especially if you are poor and without powerful friends,” said Christina Oguz, head of the U.N.’s drug and crime agency in Afghanistan.
Speaking at a news conference in Kabul on Monday, Oguz talked about the prevalence of what she called, “telephone justice”, whereby a phonecall to the right police officer or judge was sometimes all that was needed to be released.
“If you have powerful friends and commit a crime you may not even face a trial because a phonecall to the police or to the prosecutor can be made to release you,” said Oguz.
“If you don’t have these powerful friends you may end up behind bars even if you are a child,” she said.
While the number of prisoners in Afghanistan remains relatively low, the figure has has more than doubled in the last three years, says the U.N., with 12,500 prisoners in the country compared with 6,000 in January 2006.
In December 2007, the U.N. estimated that around 50 percent of prisoners were pre-trial detainees.
Another problem facing prisoners in Afghanistan, said Oguz, is that many often remain in jail long after their sentence has expired, in effect serving “double” sentences as they are unable to pay the additional fine.
“If you are poor, again, you may end up staying in prison even though your prison sentence has ended because you cannot pay your fund or you cannot bribe yourself out,” said Oguz. “We have found many cases of people who are still in prison after their time has been served,” she said. Oguz said that Afghanistan needed to look to alternatives to imprisonment, such as suspended sentences, house arrests and fines but not on top of any prison sentence.
“Prison should not be the first sentence that comes to your mind for the majority of cases,” she said. “Prison is often a very expensive way of making a bad situation worse.” (Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)
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