Pakistan holding thousands without trial after US-backed attacks

The Pakistani military is holding thousands of people in indefinite detention without a trial after US-backed offensives, a US report said.

Pakistan holding thousands without trial after US-backed attacks

The Pakistani military is holding thousands of people in indefinite detention without a trial after US-backed offensives, since civilian justice system can allow them to go free, a US report said.

"The majority of the detainees have been held for nearly a year and have been allowed no contact with family members, lawyers or humanitarian groups, " the Pakistani officials and human rights advocates told Washington Post said.

Pakistani officials defend "indefinite detention", saying "that they are aware of the problem but that there is no clear solution: Pakistan has no applicable military justice system."

"U.S. officials estimate the total at 2,500, a figure that roughly corresponds to Pakistani estimates, though some outside analysts in Pakistan say the number is higher," the report said. "They are being held in special military detention centers across the region, though the exact locations have not been made public."

Pakistani security officials said that the vast majority of the detainees are Pakistani citizens but that some are foreigners, including Uzbeks, Chechens and Arabs.

"We don't have a system like Egypt, where you send a man to court and three days later he's executed," said Malik Naveed Khan, the top police official in northwestern Pakistan. "The judges decide the punishment, and they have to look at the evidence."

Pakistan has in the past sent high-level detainees to the United States for interrogation at Guantanamo Bay and other facilities.

"Law of jungle"

Pakistan detained more than 300 what they call "militants" in US-backed 2007 offensive in the Swat Valley as well as those during its offensive in South Waziristan last fall and in other operations in adjacent tribal areas.

Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, an army spokesman, said the military is "extremely concerned" that the detainees will be allowed to go free if they are turned over to the civilian government.

This month, Human Rights Watch said it had documented as many as 300 extrajudicial killings by the military during and after the Swat operation. The military has denied that charge.

Ali Dayan Hasan, the New York-based organization's senior South Asia analyst, said that without proper documentation of the detainees, more could be tortured and killed.

"What this is an argument for is the law of the jungle," Hasan said. "This is a gross abuse of human rights and very bad counterterror strategy."

There has been no public accounting of who has been detained, so the exact number of prisoners is not known.



Agencies

Last Mod: 22 Nisan 2010, 12:40
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