Torture on rise in Afghan jails, says UN report

Kandahar prison

The use of torture has risen in Afghan police jails over the past year, and there are “credible reports” the country’s intelligence service has created secret prisons and sometimes hides detainees from international observers, a damning UN survey has found.

Just over half of prisoners held in connection with Afghanistan‘s long-running war endured torture or ill-treatment while in custody between October 2011 and October 2012, with 14 different methods recorded, including electric shocks, twisting of genitals, beatings with cables and rifle butts and suspension from the wrists or feet.

In southern Kandahar city, which appears to have the most extensive and deep-rooted problems with torture, dozens of men have also “disappeared” while in police custody, according to the 123-page report by the UN’s human rights office in Afghanistan, which includes a detailed, 20-page response from the Afghan government.

Torture is unlikely to diminish unless ministers and top security commanders are willing to prosecute and fire officials connected with mistreatment, and stop using confessions obtained through torture in court cases, the top UN human rights official in Afghanistan warned.

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