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Investigation: In Afghanistan, routine abuse of terror detainees

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Dozens and perhaps hundreds of terrorism suspects held in US detention centers around the globe have been wrongfully imprisoned, an investigation revealed on Sunday. The finding is the latest in a series of allegations and setbacks in US efforts to prosecute such suspects. Analysts say that some of these setbacks may force Washington to fundamentally change the way it approaches the detention of "enemy combatants."

McClatchy newspapers' eight-month investigation of US detention practices in 11 countries found that many of the wrongfully detained have also been abused. McClatchy interviewed 66 released detainees and spoke with former prison guards as well as several current and former US military legal advisers.

While international attention has focused on abuses in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the US naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, "sadistic violence" first appeared in US detention facilities in Afghanistan.

Guards said they routinely beat their prisoners to retaliate for al-Qaida's 9/11 attacks, unaware that the vast majority of the detainees had little or no connection to al-Qaida.
Former detainees at Bagram [a US detention base north of Kabul] and Kandahar said they were beaten regularly. Of the 41 former Bagram detainees whom McClatchy interviewed, 28 said that guards or interrogators had assaulted them. Only eight of those men said they were beaten at Guantánamo Bay.
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