A UK Gitmo? British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed that between 80 to 90 Afghans have been held for at least 14 months at an army base in Afghanistan -- without being charged.
A UK Gitmo? British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed that between 80 to 90 Afghans have been held for at least 14 months at an army base in Afghanistan -- without being charged. Hammond defended the detentions at Camp Bastion, saying the detainees are considered too dangerous to be released and “exceptional circumstances” allows them to be held. Afghan President Hamid Karzai called for the prisoners to be released into Afghanistan’s custody, but Britain has not handed over any prisoners since allegations last November that detainees were being abused.
"The families of two of the men who appear to have been held the longest said they were arrested in the spring last year and interrogated in the following weeks.
But legal papers state their interrogation ended "many months ago".
The families only established where the men were being held with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
One, a teenager, has been held for 14 months, while the other, a 20-year-old father, has been held for 12 months.
In legal papers seen by the BBC, Dan Squires, a barrister for the 20-year-old, told the High Court: "He has not been granted access to lawyer nor brought before a court.
"He does not know how long he is to remain detained or for what purpose. He has asked whether he will be transferred to Afghan authorities but had been told they do not consider that he has committed any criminal offence and so do not want to receive him."
Mr Shiner said Mr Hammond had until last week refused to allow the detainees access to legal representation but had now granted lawyers an hour-long telephone call with two of the Afghans on Wednesday."
Nato guidelines on detention:
British forces operate in Afghanistan as part of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf).
They are allowed to hold suspects for up to 96 hours before they are released or transferred to Afghan authorities
This can be extended in "exceptional circumstances" where it is necessary to gather intelligence from the detainee to protect British soldiers and local people.
But there has been a bar on detainees being transferred to Afghan authorities since last November because of allegations that detainees were being abused.