Karzai demands handover of Afghan prisoners held by Britain at Camp Bastion

09 June 2013
Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai has set a two-week deadline for the British armed forces to hand over all Afghans in Camp Bastion to the Afghan government.

The announcement by Karzai’s spokesperson on Saturday came after last week’s revelations that the UK forces in Afghanistan are holding over 90 Afghan nationals without trial.

The presidential spokesperson says no foreign country has the right to run detention centers inside Afghanistan and that the detaining of Afghan citizens by foreign troops is against the country’s sovereignty.

The illegal detentions were made during military operations. The British kept the Afghans in Camp Bastion jail in the southern province of Helmand for a long time without trial.

British forces in Afghanistan are normally allowed to detain suspects for four days.

The detainees’ lawyers said they have been held in custody without charge for up to 14 months, which amounts to unlawful detention and internment. Lawyers say the case is against international law and the British constitution.

Last week, General Zahir Azimi, a spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry, also criticized the detentions as “illegal” and “inhuman.”

“The prisoners must be handed over to the Afghan authorities,” he said. “After their handover to us, they will be dealt with according to our judicial laws, and the agreements reached with the international community.”

The Afghan president also demanded that London provide Kabul with explanation regarding its drone program.

The UK military has been operating drone attacks in Afghanistan from London.

Kabul says the two countries have no agreement over conducting such strikes.

British forces have been based in Helmand province since the US-led war in Afghanistan began in 2001. Some 9,000 UK troops are currently stationed in the war-ravaged country.



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