KABUL - President Hamid Karzai has ordered an investigation into the use of torture and human rights' abuses in Afghanistan's prisons, appointing a delegation to look into the findings of a United Nations prison assessment that torture is systemic.
"President Hamid Karzai has assigned a delegation to investigate the findings and allegations of a report released by the UN on torture, abuse and ill-treatment in detention facilities run by the Ministry of Interior [MOI] and the National Directorate of Security [NDS]," Karzai's office said in a statement Tuesday.
The delegation is led by Abdul Qader Adalatkhwa, Deputy Director of the Constitutional Oversight Commission and consists of legal advisors from the MOI, NDS, UN envoys, an authorized representative from the Legal Board of the Presidential palace and the Director of Law & Political Science Department of Kabul University, the statement said.
The team is expected to report to the president in two weeks on "the claims of torture, mistreatment, death threats and sexual abuse in prisons, and any faults or misconduct during questioning and trial of detainees. It is also assigned to put to use all sorts of resources available to ascertain the truth of such practices and identify its perpetrators."
The move comes after the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) revealed in its second report in two years that torture continues to be widely used in Afghan prisons despite its recommendations to help end the practice in a similar report in 2011.
More than half of the 635 detainees interviewed by UNAMA investigators were ill-treated or tortured, particularly in 34 facilities of the Afghan National Police and the NDS between October 2011 and October 2012, the recent report said.
Furthermore, there were instances where Afghan authorities tried to hide the mistreatment from UN monitors and have refused to prosecute those suspected of using torture, the report said.
On Monday, the MOI and NDs rejected the report, suggesting prisoners had lied about their treatment to UNAMA investigators.
After the first report in 2011, NATO suspended prisoner transfers to Afghan authorities for a time, and the practice diminished. But several months later when NATO resumed the transfers and decreased inspections, torture quickly returned to earlier levels, UNAMA said.
NATO on Monday renewed its ban on the transfer of detainees based on the latest UNAMA report. (Tolo News)