Amnesty: ‘Sweden party to torture’ in Afghanistan

Amnesty: 'Sweden party to torture' in Afghanistan
Human rights group Amnesty International has argued that Sweden is taking part in torture after the country handed over its first prisoner in Afghanistan to local authorities, according to a report by Sveriges Radio news programme Ekot.

“There is an absolute ban on torture and thus also a ban on handing over prisoners to countries in which there is a risk of torture,” Lisa Bergh, Amnesty Sweden’s Secretary-General, told Ekot.

“It is patently clear that prisoners risk torture if they are handed over to the authorities in Afghanistan,” Bergh explained.

The prisoner was captured by Swedish forces in July after a fire-fight in which he sustained injuries. The prisoner has now been handed over the authorities.

The commander of the Swedish forces in Afghanistan, Olof Granander, told Ekot that Sweden was following a decision taken by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to hand over the prisoner to an Afghanistan field hospital.

Granander told Ekot that it is now the responsibility of the Red Cross to monitor the case and that the Swedish armed forces will not be looking into its handling of the situation.

International regulations stipulate that no country can transfer a prisoner who risks being assaulted or tortured and the rules apply regardless of whoever took the decision.

Lisa Bergh argues that as evidence of torture is so unequivocal in Afghanistan a total ban should be introduced on all ISAF forces handing over prisoners to the Afghanistan authorities.

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