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Afghanistan president announces Taliban detainee review commission

Afghan President Hamid Karzai [official profile; JURIST news archive] Sunday announced the creation of a commission [press release] to review the cases of all suspected Taliban militants currently being held in custody. Suspects that are being held without sufficient evidence will immediately be released. The announcement comes two days after the end of a national peace summit [press release] aimed at ending the nine-year insurgency in Afghanistan [JURIST news archive] and bringing peace to the country. Karzai's announcement is the first step toward achieving the goals set at the conclusion of the summit [press release] which included implementing a framework to negotiate with disaffected members of the country, ending corruption in the government, and creating a national government valuing the input of all citizens. While the resolution called for the release of all prisoners being held in the country without sufficient evidence, it is unclear whether the new commission will examine the cases of suspects currently in US custody.

Last month, a panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that detainees held at Bagram Air Base official website] cannot bring habeas corpus challenges in US courts [JURIST report]. Also in April, the Red Cross confirmed the existence of a secret detention facility [JURIST report] at Bagram. In January, the US Department of Defense released a list of names of 645 prisoners then detained at Bagram in response to a Freedom Of Information Act lawsuit filed [JURIST reports] by the ACLU last September.

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