Tuesday, November 20, 2012

indefinite detention

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered government forces to seize control of the U.S. military prison at Bagram Airbase. On Monday, a Karzai spokesperson accused the United States of breaching a March agreement on transferring the prison and its inmates over to Afghan control.

Aimal Faizi: "The President has ordered the Minister of Defense, the Attorney General, and the chief commander of Bagram Prison to take serious and swift measures to ensure a full Afghanisation of the Bagram prison takes place, including its management."

The Afghan government says the United States continues to hold dozens of prisoners in Bagram that have been cleared for release. More than 600 prisoners remain in U.S. custody.

US battles Iraq and Afghanistan over detention without charges

For several decades, the US government - in annual "human rights" reports issued by the State Department (reports mandated by the US Congress) - has formally condemned nations around the globe for the practice of indefinite detention: imprisoning people without charges or any fixed sentence. These reports, said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her preface to last year's document, are grounded in the principle that "respect for human rights is not a western construct or a uniquely American ideal; it is the foundation for peace and stability everywhere." That 2011 report condemned numerous nations for indefinite detention, including Libya ("abuse and lack of review in detention"), Uzbekistan ("arbitrary arrest and detention"), Syria ("arbitrary arrest and detention"), and Iran ("Authorities held detainees, at times incommunicado, often for weeks or months without charge or trial").

In Afghanistan and Iraq, the US government is engaged in a fierce and protracted battle over the fundamental right to be free of indefinite detention. Specifically, the US is demanding that the governments of those two nations cease extending this right to their citizens. As a Washington Post article this morning details

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