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Bagram ex-detainees allege abuse at US facility

[JURIST] Several former detainees held at the US detention facility at Bagram Air Base [JURIST news archive; GlobalSecurity backgrounder] in Afghanistan have alleged abuse [BBC report] while in custody, the BBC reported Wednesday. Interviews conducted over a two-month period with 25 people detained on suspicion of belonging to al Qaeda or the Taliban revealed allegations that prisoners were subjected to physical abuse, death threats, "stress positions," extreme temperatures, and forced nudity. Amnesty International [advocacy website] responded to the allegations [press release] by saying that they "were a timely reminder of the continuing need for accountability, transparency and for the human rights of those" detained in Afghanistan. Speaking for the US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website], Lt. Col. Mark Wright said that the conditions at Bagram were in line with international standards, and that service members who violated the rules had been held accountable.

Concern over the treatment of detainees held at US facilities, including Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and Bagram Air Base [JURIST news archives], has accelerated after the April release of four CIA interrogation memos [JURIST report]. Earlier this month, Judge John Bates of the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] stayed an April ruling which would have allowed habeas corpus challenges [JURIST reports] initiated by current Bagram detainees to proceed while the government appeals the decision. In May, the DOD announced plans [JURIST report] to build a new prison in Afghanistan to replace Bagram, which became infamous in 2002 when two detainees died [JURIST news archive] after being abused by US soldiers.

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