Afghan Panel Says Prison Torture Not Systematic

February 11, 2013

An Afghan government panel confirms it has found evidence of torture of detainees, but it denied systematic abuse of prisoners.

The panel was tasked by Afghan President Hamid Karzai last month to investigate UN claims that prisoners in government custody were being tortured and sexually abused.

The panel said on February 11 that almost half the inmates it interviewed claimed being tortured.

Sixty-six percent of the inmates said they don't have access to legal services.

The panel said it spoke to some 140 inmates in Kabul, Kandahar, and Herat jails.

In a report issued in January, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said that "torture persists and remains a serious concern in numerous detention facilities across Afghanistan."

The report said such practices continue despite efforts by the United Nations and international forces.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa