LONDON (TIP): Britain would restart the transfer of detainees captured in Afghanistan to the local authorities later this month. The process was suspended in November last year after it emerged the prisoners were being mistreated in Afghan custody. The fresh move comes days after Britain confirmed it had 90 Afghan nationals in its custody at Camp Bastion, the country’s biggest base in Afghanistan and dubbed as the UK’s version of Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
They were being held without charges for up to 14 months with no access to lawyers in violation of the international law. “We have been working to identify a safe transfer route to Afghan custody and I am pleased that this work has come to fruition,” said defence secretary Philip Hammond. “I very much hope we do not face any further legal impediments in the British courts which could prevent us from transferring these detainees and force us to hold them for even longer in Camp Bastion.’
‘ The prisoners would be transferred to an Afghan National Army facility at Parwan, which has received positive reports from rights organizations. “Our coalition allies also now transfer detainees to the same Afghan facility. I am confident the safeguards in place will ensure detainees will not be at risk of mistreatment,” said Hammond. He justified detentions, saying they were crucial on the battlefield to stop those intend to kill British troops.
“Our troops must be able to detain enemies on the battlefield and debrief them for intelligence purposes and will continue to do so before transferring them into the Afghan judicial system.” British forces in Afghanistan are part of the International Security Assistance Force and are allowed to detain suspects for 96 hours. The custody can be extended in “exceptional circumstance”. Since 2003, UK operations in Afghanistan have been conducted under Operation Herrick.