[JURIST] The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [official website] has confirmed the existence of a secret detention facility at Bagram Air Base [official website; JURIST news archive], according to a Tuesday BBC News report [text]. The BBC reported last month that nine Afghan witnesses have claimed that they were held and tortured in a secret US prison [JURIST report] at Bagram. The witnesses say that they were allegedly captured by American forces and taken to a secret location where they were abused and interrogated [BBC report], then later transported to an official detention facility in Parwan, a new prison recently opened [JURIST report] at the edge of Bagram Air Base. Torture allegations include sleep deprivation, disorientation, beating, and humiliation tactics. Despite the alleged witness accounts of torture, the US government has continued to deny the existence of secret prisons in Afghanistan.
Last month, Al Jazeera reported that a US military official said the US is in negotiations to transfer non-Afghan detainees [JURIST report] at Bagram Air Base back to their home countries. Earlier in April, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed habeas corpus petitions [JURIST report] on behalf of four detainees held at Bagram Air Base, claiming that none of the men has engaged in hostile behavior directed at the US, nor are they members of groups that purport to do so. In January, the US Department of Defense released a list of names of 645 prisoners detained at Bagram in response to a Freedom Of Information Act lawsuit filed [JURIST reports] by the ACLU last September. Prisoners at Bagram have launched previous habeas corpus challenges [JURIST report] in US courts but thus far have been less successful than those held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive].