News24

Afghan detainees allege abuse

2009-06-24 11:30

London - Former detainees at the Bagram military base in Afghanistan have reported being beaten, deprived of sleep and threatened with dogs by US forces, according to a report by the BBC published on Wednesday.

The BBC said it interviewed 27 former inmates of the base over the past two months. According to the report, the Pentagon in Washington has denied the charges and insisted that all inmates in the facility are treated humanely.

The BBC said the detainees in question were held at the base during the period from 2002 and 2008 and all were accused of belonging to the al-Qaeda network or the Taliban.

None were charged with any offence or put on trial, but some received apologies when they were released.

Just two of the detainees said they had been treated well, according to the BBC.

In the report, the detainees alleged physical abuse, the use of stress positions, excessive heat or cold, unbearably loud noise, and being forced to remove clothes in front of female soldiers.

Four detainees said they were threatened with death at gunpoint. Some of the inmates were forcibly taken there from abroad, especially Pakistanis and at least two Britons.

"They did things that you would not do against animals let alone to humans," said one inmate known as Dr Khandan.

"They poured cold water on you in winter and hot water in summer. They used dogs against us. They put a pistol or a gun to your head and threatened you with death," he said.

"They put some kind of medicine in the juice or water to make you sleepless and then they would interrogate you."

The BBC said the findings were shown to the Pentagon.

It quoted Mark Wright, a spokesperson for the US Secretary of Defence, as saying that conditions at Bagram "meet international standards for care and custody".