Posted by | December 2, 2009 11:06 | Filed under: Top Stories

Known as the “black jail,” detainees at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan (pictured) are being held for weeks at a time without access to the Red Cross, say human rights researchers and former detainees.  The former detainees said their only human contact was twice-daily interrogation sessions.

The jail’s operation highlights a tension between President Obama’s goal to improve detention conditions that had drawn condemnation under the Bush administration and his stated desire to give military commanders leeway to operate. While Mr. Obama signed an order to eliminate so-called black sites run by the Central Intelligence Agency in January, it did not also close this jail, which is run by military Special Operations forces.


Officials say there are no plans to close the jail, but because of a policy that went into effect with the Obama administration, detainees can’t be held longer than two weeks. Prior to the two-week rule, longer-held detainees were, according to three who spoke publicly, subjected to humiliation and abuse.

Human rights officials said the existence of a jail where prisoners were denied contact with the Red Cross or their families contradicted the Obama administration’s drive to improve detention conditions.


“Holding people in what appears to be incommunicado detention runs against the grain of the administration’s commitment to greater transparency, accountability, and respect for the dignity of Afghans,” said Jonathan Horowitz, a human rights researcher with the Open Society Institute.

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Copyright 2009 Liberaland
By: Alan

Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.