KABUL - US legal rights campaigners on Friday called on Afghanistan to end the practice of “administrative detention”, in which people are held indefinitely without trial. The International Justice Network (IJN), a New York-based network which provides legal services to human rights abuse victims worldwide, is acting for prisoners at Bagram prison north of Kabul. The controversial facility housing suspected Taliban fighters officially passed to Afghan control from the United States nearly two weeks ago, with around 3,000 inmates handed over, though 600 Afghan detainees and 50 foreigners still remain in US custody.
“The administrative detention regime that the US government now uses at Bagram is not only illegal under international law, but contravenes the Afghan constitution in a number of respects,” attorney Tina Foster of IJN told reporters in a briefing in Kabul. “There is no reason for Afghanistan to adopt such a flawed system.” She said inmates had been denied access to judicial process for six years and the US government had “trampled on” human rights since 9/11. Kabul has hailed the transfer of Bagram - dubbed in the past Afghanistan’s Guantanamo Bay - as a victory for sovereignty as Nato prepares to hand over full national security to Afghans and withdraw its combat troops by the end of 2014. The fate of around 50 foreigners, mostly from Pakistan and held for years, is not covered by the agreement, which advocacy group the Open Society Foundations says exposes them to the risk of indefinite detention.