British forces to hand detainees back to Afghanistan authorities
Decision follows claims last week that up to 90 Afghans were being held 'illegally' at Camp Bastion
Afghan detainees being held by British forces will be handed back to their own country's authorities, the Ministry of Defence has announced.
The transfer of detainees had been suspended in November amid concerns prisoners were being mistreated, but now, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond now says the moves are safe.
The decision follows revelations that last week up to 90 Afghans were being held by British forces at Camp Bastion, after which Mr Hammond suggested that the detainees could be handed over.
Lawyers acting on behalf of the suspects claimed their internment could have been unlawful, bringing High Court action on behalf of two of the men.
British forces in Afghanistan are allowed to detain suspects for a maximum of 96 hours, except in "exceptional circumstances," but some detainees were being held for up to 14 months.
nnouncing the resumption of transfers, the MoD today said the UK would not transfer detainees to any facility where there was a risk of mistreatment but has been working with Afghan authorities to find a safe way to transfer detainees into the country's judicial system.
Many are suspected of involvement in the preparation, facilitation, or laying of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), against UK forces, or were picked up at the scene of shootings of British troops, the MoD said, and have been held pending transfer to Afghan authorities for prosecution.
Mr Hammond has now decided it is safe to transfer detainees to the Afghan National Detention Facility in Parwan, at the US military airfield in Bagram, which is operated and controlled by the Afghan National Army, with support from the US.
Interested parties have been notified of plans to resume transfers after 21 days, the MoD said.
It said British troops can detain suspected extremists captured on the battlefield under the authority of the UN Security mandate, and detainees are held where there is evidence linking them to criminal activity, before being transferred to Afghan authorities for further investigation before prosecution.
Announcing the restart of the transfers, Mr Hammond said: "We have been working to identify a safe transfer route to Afghan custody and I am pleased that this work has come to fruition.
"I very much hope we do not face any further legal impediments in the British courts which could prevent us from transferring these detainees and force us to hold them for even longer in Camp Bastion.
"The facility at Parwan is run by the Afghan National Army, trained and mentored by US forces, and has received positive reports from humanitarian organisations that monitor conditions.
"Our coalition allies also now transfer detainees to the same Afghan facility. I am confident the safeguards in place will ensure detainees will not be at risk of mistreatment.
"Detaining individuals on the battlefield is crucial to stopping those who intend to kill British servicemen and women.
"Our troops must be able to detain enemies on the battlefield and debrief them for intelligence purposes and will continue to do so before transferring them into the Afghan judicial system."
- 1 Crystal meth addict 'gouged out his eyes and ate them' while high on drug, Australian MP claims
- 2 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 3 Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
- 4 Witch doctor arrested after forcing newborn baby to walk in Indian village
- 5 Arsenal fan asks the Queen for tickets to the FA Cup final - gets a reply from Buckingham Palace
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: Dublin in party mood ahead of historic poll result
Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
Witch doctor arrested after forcing newborn baby to walk in Indian village
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...