US is ‘undermining’ Afghan trials
By Elettra Neysmith
BBC News / April 11, 2008
A report by a US-based rights group has said the United States is failing the Afghan government by contributing to violations of fair trial standards.
Human Rights First says the US is not providing adequate evidence in cases of former detainees from Guantanamo Bay being tried in Afghan courts.
It says the detainees are being put on trial with little or no evidence.
The report says the US is standing by while international standards for fair trials are violated.
America’s special detention facility is located at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
Set up as a solution, it quickly became a problem, beset by accusations of illegality, and violations of human rights.
One answer has been repatriation, and that has seen many Afghan inmates transferred back to Kabul.
But Human Rights First suggests that that process has led to Afghanistan’s nascent judicial system being undermined.
“We would like the US government to make available to Afghan officials the name of soldiers, other personnel involved in apprehension of these detainees as witnesses for these trials, and any evidence they have in their possession should be handed over to Afghan officials,” Sahr Muhammed Ally, the report’s author, says.
She said in Iraq, the US has made a policy decision to support criminal prosecutions – soldiers are trained in evidence gathering and can testify as witnesses.
She said that if the Americans can do it in Iraq, then they can do it in Afghanistan.