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Afghan Commission Notes Decline In Torture, But Says Concerns Remain

Prisoners at the Pul-e Charkhi prison outside Kabul

Prisoners at the Pul-e Charkhi prison outside Kabul

The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission says incidents of torture have decreased in Afghan detention centers, but that other issues involving the country's prisons remain of deep concern.

In an interview with RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, Farid Hamidi, a member of the commission, said its findings suggest that, compared to the last few years, “torture in Afghanistan has, to some degree, decreased, but unfortunately, it remains one of the main human rights concerns -- one of the concerns that can violate justice and step over the basic rights of the Afghan people.”

But he said problems such as prisoners' poor living conditions, negligence in processing prisoners’ cases, and unlawful arrests remain persistent and must be addressed.

On September 23, parliament's Judiciary Committee summoned Afghanistan’s attorney general and the head of the country's national security agency, the National Security Directorate, to review prison conditions and to share with them numerous complaints lodged by prisoners about mistreatment by National Security personnel.

Many released detainees have complained of having been tortured. National Security officials deny such allegations.

Meanwhile, deputy Malalai Shinwari, who recently visited Pul-e Charkhi prison in Kabul along with a parliamentary delegation, said, “Numerous shortcomings exist in prisons. Relations between prison personnel and prisoners are very bad.”

She emphasized that such conditions were visible in both the men’s and women’s wards.

Interpol recently made a commitment to assist in improving conditions in Afghanistan's prisons.

(by Helena Malikyar of RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan)

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