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Report Says U.S. Has 'Secret' Detention Centers
Thu Jun 17, 3:44 PM ET - By Sue Pleming

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is holding terrorism suspects in more than two dozen detention centers worldwide and about half of these operate in total secrecy, said a human rights report released on Thursday.

Human Rights First, formerly known as the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, said in a report that secrecy surrounding these facilities made "inappropriate detention and abuse not only likely but inevitable."

"The abuses at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib cannot be addressed in isolation," said Deborah Pearlstein, director of the group's U.S. Law and Security program, referring to the U.S. Naval base prison in Cuba and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq (news - web sites) where abuses are being investigated.

"This is all about secrecy, accountability and the law," Pearlstein told a news conference.

The report coincided with news that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ordered military officials to hold a suspect in a prison near Baghdad without telling the Red Cross. Pearlstein said this would be a violation of the Geneva Conventions and Defense Department directives.

She said thousands of security detainees were being held by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan (news - web sites) as well as locations elsewhere which the military refused to disclose.

"The U.S. government is holding prisoners in a secret system of off- shore prisons beyond the reach of adequate supervision, accountability of law," said the report.

LIST OF DETENTION CENTERS

Pearlstein said multiple sources reported U.S. detention centers in, among other places, Kohat in Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia and at Al Jafr prison in Jordan, where the group said the CIA (news - web sites) had an interrogation facility.

Prisoners are also being held at the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, South Carolina, and others were suspected of being held on U.S. warships.

A defense department spokesman told Reuters he would comment when he had more information about the report.

Pearlstein called for the U.S. authorities to end "secret detentions," provide a list of prisoners, investigate abuses and allow the International Committee of the Red Cross unfettered access to detainees.

U.S. treatment of detainees came under the spotlight after disturbing photos were leaked to the media showing U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners.

The United States is conducting several investigations into these abuses but Pearlstein said these were not enough and a full court of inquiry should be ordered.

Families of suspects detained by U.S. authorities have complained strongly about the lack of information about detainees held by U.S. authorities since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks against the United States.

Pakistani Farhat Paracha said via a telephone link-up at the news conference that she tried for weeks to find her husband, Saifullah Paracha, who disappeared last June when he took a business trip from Pakistan to Thailand.

Paracha said she asked the U.S. and Pakistani governments to track him down and only learned about his whereabouts when the Red Cross contacted her six weeks later to say her husband was being held at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.

"I feel disgusted. It makes my heart sink. I feel so powerless and so helpless," said Paracha.

U.S. Operated Detention Facilities in the "War On Terror"

AFGHANISTAN

Disclosed

  • Collection Center at the U.S. Air Force Base in Bagram.
  • Detention facility in Kandahar (an “intermediate” site, where detainees await transport to Bagram).
  • Approximately 20 “outlying transient sites” (used to hold detainees until they may be evacuated either to Kandahar or Bagram).

Suspected

Detention facilities in:

  • Asadabad*
  • Kabul*
  • Jalalabad*
  • Gardez*
  • Khost*
  • CIA interrogation facility at Bagram
  • CIA interrogation facility in Kabul (known as “the Pit”)

*These sites may be part of the approximately 20 “outlying transient sites.”

GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA

Disclosed

  • U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay

IRAQ

Disclosed

  • Abu Ghraib (near Baghdad)
  • Camp Cropper (near the Baghdad Airport)
  • Camp Bucca (near Basra)
  • Nine facilities under division or brigade command

    • Facilities run by military divisions:
    • 1st Infantry Division DIF (Tikrit)
    • 1st Marine Expeditionary Force DIF (Al Fallujah)
    • 1st Cavalry Division DIF (Baghdad)
    • 1st Armored Division DIF (Baghdad)
    • Multi-National Division-South East (Az Zubayr)

      Facilities run by military brigades:
    • Dayyarah West (Multi-National Brigade - North)
    • Tal Afar (Multi-National Brigade - North)
    • Al Hillah (Multi-National Division - Center South)
    • Wasit (Multi-National Division - Center South)

In addition, there are a number of “brigade holding areas in division sectors” where detainees may be held up to 72 hours before transfer to Division facilities.

Ashraf Camp. Ashraf Camp is a detention facility for Mujahideen-E-Khalq (MEK), an Iraqi based organization seeking to overthrow the government in Iran. Ashraf Camp was disclosed as a detention site for MEK detainees in February 2004, but as of June 11, 2004, the Coalition Press Information Center (CPIC) refused to discuss the status or location of the MEK detainees.

PAKISTAN

Suspected

  • Kohat (near the border of Afghanistan) Alizai

DIEGO GARCIA

Suspected

  • United States and United Kingdom officials deny repeated news reports indicating that at least some individuals are being detained on the British possession of Diego Garcia, including, at one time, the leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah, Hambali (Riduan Isamuddin).

JORDAN

Suspected

  • Al Jafr Prison (CIA interrogation facility)

UNITED STATES

Disclosed
  • Naval Consolidated Brig (Charleston, South Carolina). This facility is where the U.S. Government is detaining at least three individuals as “enemy combatants”: two U.S. citizens, Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi, as well as a Qatari national residing in the United States, Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri.

Suspected

  • U.S. Naval Ships: USS Bataan and USS Peleliu.

More Information at Human Rights First

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All information is © Copyright 1997 - 2006 'Foreign Prisoner Support Service' unless stated otherwise - Click here for the legal stuff