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AIHRC report documents rise in torture and ill-treatment

Graphic: Prison walls and barbed wire

The report states that the Afghan Government has not been successful in fulfilling its commitments to prevent torture in places of detention.

In a new report, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights has found that torture and ill-treatment is taking place in custodial facilities and detention centres across the country "as a common practice of taking confession".

Despite some steps forward, the Commission states that the Afghan Government has not been successful in fulfilling its commitments to prevent torture in places of detention.

The report – which covers the year 1393 – was based on information gathered by AIHRC staff in regional and provincial offices, who conducted 661 missions systematically to monitor prisons and detention centers across 32 provinces.

During these monitoring missions, individual interviews were conducted with 993 prisoners, including detainees and those under police custody.

Custodial facilities and detention centers of the National Police and National Directorate of Security (NDS), as well as detention centers of the National Army and international forces, are places where torture and ill-treatment was recorded.

Taking confession is the main reason the use of torture. Most victims are people suspected or accused of crimes against national and international security, who have been arrested by the police, the NDS, the National Army and the international forces. They are tortured during investigation and prosecution.

Findings by the AIHRC show that of 287 registered cases, 171 cases (59 per cent) of torture were committed in police custodies. This is up from 55 cases in 1392.

Kicking, punching, beating with gun butt, beating with sticks and hose pipes, hanging from the ceiling, pulling out beards, electric shock and drowning in the water are common forms of torture used in police custodies.

After the police custodies, most cases of torture were recorded in NDS-run custodies. Of 287 cases of torture, 94 cases (33 per cent) were committed in NDS-run custodies during interrogation and prosecution of the accused. This is up from 17 cases in 1392.

The AIHRC also found two cases of torture involving the Attorney's Office and six cases involving foreign forces in Afghanistan, which make up three per cent of total cases in 1393.

The findings and recommendations from this research aim to assist the Afghan Government to take effective measures to prevent torture and ill-treatment in places of detention.

Read the AIHRC's report on torture and ill-treatment in Afghanistan.

Date: 17 May 2016


Image credits

  1. Prison walls and barbed wire - APF/James Iliffe