Afghans detail detention in Bagram ‘Black Jail’
One of the very first actions Barack Obama took after swearing in as President of the United States in January was signing an order to eliminate “black sites” run by the CIA. According to a new report, a detention camp in Afghanistan run by military Special Operations forces was not closed.
The New York Times is reporting today that inmates are being held, often for weeks at a time, in windowless concrete cells at Bagram Air Base. Former detainees told The Times their only human contact was at twice-daily interrogations.
All three former detainees interviewed by The New York Times complained of being held for months after the intensive interrogations were over without being told why. One detainee said he remained at the Bagram prison complex for two years and four months; another was held for 10 months total.
When the former detainees were held there, Pentagon policy allowed the military to obtain extensions, but in August the administration restricted the amount of time detainees could be held at military jails to two weeks.
Jonathan Horowitz, a human rights researcher with the Open Society Institute, told The Times, “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.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross does not discuss its findings publicly and would not say whether its officials had visited the black jail.