Washington: The Pentagon is to give some
600 prisoners held in the US air base in Bagram, Afghanistan,
the right to challenge their detention, Defence Department
spokesman Bryan Whitman said today.
"It's basically a review procedure that ensures people go
in front of a panel periodically to give them the opportunity
to contest their detention," he told reporters.
The inmates would be aided by a uniformed "personal
representative" who would "guide them through this
administrative process, to help gather witness statements,"
"It's something that we had used in Iraq to help us
manage the detainee population and ultimately reduce the
detainee population by ensuring that we are only holding those
that are the most dangerous threats."
Some of the detainees have already been held at Bagram
for six years.
But unlike the prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay naval base
in Cuba, they have had no access to lawyers, no right to hear
the allegations against them and only rudimentary reviews of
their status as "enemy combatants."
Whitman said the Pentagon was "just in the process of
implementing this," adding that "all of this is in the context
of DoD's efforts to review and improve our detainee
First Published: Monday, September 14, 2009, 22:55