Bagram Detainees Deserve Due Process
Washington, D.C. – Responding to news that the United States will not transfer all Afghan detainees at the Bagram air base to Afghan custody today, as originally planned, Human Rights First’s Daphne Eviatar issued the following statement: “While we recognize the challenges the U.S. military faces in transferring some 3000 detainees at Bagram to Afghan custody within the 6-month deadline agreed upon, the failure to transfer all of the detainees does not change U.S. obligations under international law.” “International law requires that the United States provide meaningful due process to all detainees in its custody. That means detainees should have the right to challenge the basis of their detention in a meaningful manner, with an opportunity to see the evidence against them and have the assistance of legal counsel who can argue their case to a neutral arbiter. The United States has not provided this to thousands of detainees imprisoned at Bagram in the past. If it intends to continue to detain both Afghan and non-Afghan detainees at a U.S.-run prison on the U.S. military base, it is obligated to provide those minimum elements of due process going forward.” Last year, Human Rights First documented the U.S. failure to meet the minimum standards of due process required by international law at its prison on the Bagram air base in Afghanistan. Its 2011 report, Detained and Denied, was based on Human Rights First’s observations of the hearings provided to Bagram detainees and interviews of former detainees recently released from U.S. custody.