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Ear to the Ground

Naming Bagram’s Detainees

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Posted on Jan 17, 2010
Bagram
U.S. Air Force / Staff Sgt. Derrick C. Good

Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan houses a secret detention camp that inmates call the “black jail” because it is closed to outside groups such as the Red Cross.

After a request by the ACLU for information, the U.S. has released the list of detainees at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, a move the ACLU calls an “important step toward transparency and accountability” for the secret prison site. —JCL

New York Times:

The announcement came as political wrestling over the leadership of the government continued, with the Afghan Parliament again turning down many of President Hamid Karzai’s nominees for cabinet ministers.

The release of the detainee list was prompted by a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed in September by the American Civil Liberties Union, whose lawyers had also demanded detailed information about conditions, rules and regulations at the prison.

“Releasing the names of those held at Bagram is an important step toward transparency and accountability at the secretive Bagram prison, but it is just a first step,” Melissa Goodman, a lawyer for the A.C.L.U., said in a statement.

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By gerard, January 17, 2010 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment

To disclose the names only of persons held in military prisons abroad like Bagaram is to publicly reveal “confusion worse confounded.” 
  750 (or 645?) Inmates consist of persons:
  picked up in other countries or not?
  picked up in actual combat or not?
  picked up erroneously?
  how long in prison?  abused?  released already?
    if so, why? where are they now? if not
    released, why not?     
  conditions of health?
  want legal representation or not?
  contact with families or not?
  conditions and rules governing prisons? Observed?\    not observed?
Consider trying to untangle this if you were being held in such a situation—or trying to find a family member. Who would care enough for you to do it?

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