Nato detainee is found dead in cell

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The Independent Online

A detainee being held by troops from the Nato-led force in Afghanistan was found dead in his holding cell, and an investigation is under way, the force said in a statement yesterday.

The man was captured during a military operation by the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) on Saturday and was "found dead" the following day in his cell in Kandahar province.

Prisoner abuse and deaths of detainees while in the custody of foreign troops is a sensitive subject for many Afghans after US troops beat to death two prisoners in 2002 at the Bagram prison in the US Bagram Air Base north of Kabul. That jail, which was set up to hold prisoners from the campaign against the Taliban after the 11 September attacks, was replaced this year by a $60m (£38m) prison – also on Bagram Air Base – which Washington says meets international standards.

On Saturday, a report by the US think-tank Open Society Foundations said former detainees held at a secret US prison at Bagram called the "Tor Jail", separate to the main jail, had reported abuse at the hands of the US military. They said they were deprived of natural light and adequate food and were denied Red Cross visits. A spokeswoman for US military detention operations said the International Committee of the Red Cross was aware of the holding centres it operates and that all treatment complied with international and US laws.

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