Detainees Protest at Bagram

US air base in Bagram, Afghanistan. (c) Digital Globe 2009. Screenshot taken from Google Earth

US air base in Bagram, Afghanistan. (c) Digital Globe 2009. Screenshot taken from Google Earth

Detainees held in the U.S. military detention center at Bagram Air Base are in the middle of a conundrum over their legal rights. Human rights campaigners argue that the prisoners should be provided with the same rights as those being held in the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The United States military, however, argues that they deserve different treatment since they are held in a  current war zone. In Bagram, detainees are informed about the reason for their arrest, and are offered the ability to defend themselves without outside legal counsel at six-month military review sessions.

To protest their lack of legal representation, the detainees themselves have begun protesting, refusing privileges such as recreation time and family visits in order to obtain access to lawyers or independent reviews. The prisoners further refuse to leave their cells to shower or exercise.  The prison wide protest started on July 1 and only became public recently through the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The U.S. detention facility in Bagram is even more closed off to the public than Guantanmo Bay. The Washington Post has more background information on the expanding detention facility.

Jacki Mowery contributed to this post

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