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Jordan should ban torture, end special courts: UN investigator

[JURIST] Jordan should criminalize torture and end the use of special courts that protect accused police and intelligence officials, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak [official website] told a press conference following the conclusion of his two-day visit to Jordan [JURIST news archive]. Nowak said he has evidence that torture is systematically practiced at two detention centers in Amman run by the General Intelligence Department (GID) [official website] and the Central Investigation Department (CID) of the Public Security Forces, as well as the much-maligned Jaefer prison, but that officials at both centers obstructed his investigation through denying access to areas of the prison and hiding evidence.

Nowak's recommendations will be included in an official report to the UN General Assembly and the reformed Human Rights Council [official websites], on which Jordan sits as a vice-chair. Animated by similar concerns about detainee treatment, the British government concluded a special memorandum of understanding [PDF] with Jordan in August 2005 under which Jordan promised that any persons deported by the UK to Jordan would be treated "in a humane and proper manner, in accordance with internationally accepted standards." The agreement has nonetheless been criticized by rights groups [HRW press release] as inadequate. AFP has more.

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