UN publishes Afghanistan prisoner 'torture' report

Afghan prison main gate in Kandahar - 25 April 2011 The report prompted Nato to suspend detainee transfers to eight facilities last month

Prisoners in some Afghan-run detention facilities have been beaten and tortured, a UN report has said.

It says detainees in 47 facilities in 24 provinces run by the Afghan Directorate of Security and National Police have suffered abuses.

The allegations contained in the report were first revealed by the BBC in September.

At that time the government denied torture claims and said the report was politically motivated.

The published report says prisoners were mostly subjected to interrogation techniques that constituted torture under international and Afghan law.

But the UN made clear that the mistreatment was not the result of government policy.

Based on interviews with 379 prisoners, the report said that many inmates appeared to display visible signs of injuries and marks which suggested that they had been badly beaten or abused.

The intelligence service is also accused of systematically practising torture at a number of its facilities to extract confessions from prisoners suspected of having links to the Taliban or other militant groups.

Children as young as 14 were among those being held and subjected to torture.

The report says that torture methods used included suspending people by their wrists, administering beatings to the soles of their feet, electric shocks, twisting detainees' genitals, removing toe nails and putting people in stress positions.

It says that the Afghan authorities have taken steps to stop the abuse, including the reassignment of personnel and the suspension of individuals suspected of more serious offences.

Significantly, the report says some of those detained had been handed over to the Afghans by international forces.

Nato has now stopped prisoner transfers to 16 facilities as a result of the findings and says it is monitoring the situation.

There has been no reaction from the Afghan authorities so far, but last month the government rejected the allegations.

Kabul said the report was aimed at disrupting the handover of control of security back to Afghans as foreign troops prepare to leave by 2014.

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