Saturday 16 January 2010

US Defense Dept releases list of Bagram detainees

The American Civil Liberties Union has obtained a list of 645 detainees held at Bagram Air Base Prison in Afghanistan. The list can be viewed here.
The list was issued by the US Department of Defense in response to an ACLU Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, and is current at September 2009. It has been redacted so that vital information including their citizenship, how long they have been held, in what country they were captured and the circumstances of their capture, etc, cannot be seen.
The ACLU lawsuit was filed in September 2009, seeking the disclosure of documents related to the detention and treatment of prisoners at Bagram. In addition to a list of vital information about detainees being held there, the lawsuit seeks records relating to the rules and agreements that govern the facility and documents pertaining to the conditions of confinement and status review process afforded prisoners.
Melissa Goodman, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, said:
“Releasing the names of those held at Bagram is an important step toward transparency and accountability at the secretive Bagram prison, but it is just a first step. Hundreds of people have languished at Bagram for years in horrid and abusive conditions, without even being told why they’re detained or given a fair chance to argue for release. The information the government continues to withhold, however, is just as vital as the names of prisoners. Full transparency and accountability about Bagram requires disclosing how long these people have been imprisoned, where they are from and whether they were captured far from any battlefield or in other countries far from Afghanistan.
“The public has long been kept in the dark about what goes on at Bagram. It is time to shine a bright light on the secretive prison.”

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