The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

U.S. General: Most Bagram Detainees Should Be Released

Last updated: July 31, 2020 | August 20, 2009 | Habiba Ashton

A U.S. Marine reservist and general has created a detailed report recommending that up to 400 of the 600 prisoners at the U.S.-run prison at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan have done nothing wrong and should be released, NPR reports.

Lawyers have been making that argument for years now, but the United States has insisted that the prisoners at Bagram have no right to challenge their detention in a U.S. court. The Obama administration recently appealed a federal court’s ruling that some of the prisoners do indeed have that right.

Now, notwithstanding any constitutional concerns, Maj. Gen. Doug Stone is reportedly recommending that the United States completely revamp its detention policy in Afghanistan, focusing on rehabilitating rather than simply imprisoning the detainees. He also acknowledges that the vast majority of the men held at Bagram were likely swept up in raids yet had not engaged in hostilities against the United States.

As I’ve written before, many of the prisoners at Bagram have been held there for six or seven years without charge or access to lawyers. Stone worries that imprisoning them without charge or an ability to defend themselves for years will turn them into hardened anti-American radicals.

Stone’s 700-page report is not yet available, but he has reportedly briefed senior U.S. officials on his findings, including the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal; Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan; and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Stone earlier helped revamp the prison system in Iraq.

McChrystal is expected to address the issue of detention facilities in an assessment of Afghanistan due within the next few weeks.

Habiba Ashton | BCS Growth Fund (Israel) L.P., a private investment fund specializing in investments in technologically focused businesses with high growth potential, employs Habiba as an analyst. Mrs. Ashton served as an analyst and information manager at the Israel International Fund, the first Israeli venture capital fund designed specifically for Japanese corporate investors, prior to joining BCS. Habiba graduated with honors from Israel's College of Management with a B.A. in Business Administration.

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