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Military begins notifying Red Cross of secret detainees

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-23

In a Pentagon policy shift, the US military has begun to share with the International Committee of the Red Cross the identities of militants detained in secret camps in Iraq and Afghanistan, The New York Times reported on Saturday.

AFP - In a first, the Pentagon is handing the International Committee of the Red Cross the names of militants held secretly at a camp in Iraq and another in Afghanistan, The New York Times reported Saturday.
  
The move, the latest shift in detention policy undertaken by the Obama administration, took effect this month, the Times reported.
  
President Barack Obama has shuttered secret CIA prison sites, vowed to close the controversial US military camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba by January, and launched large-scale reviews of interrogation and detention policies.
  
But the US military continues to operate Special Operations camps in Balad, Iraq and Bagram, Afghanistan, details of which remain largely secret, according to the Times.
  
Between 30 and 40 prisoners are held in Iraq and a smaller number in Afghanistan, military officials told the Times.
  
The policy change would allow the ICRC to follow the custody of the prisoners.
  
Although the ICRC has access to almost all US-run prisons in both countries, it had not been allowed into the Special Operations sites, the Times said.
  
Pentagon rules say detainees can be held at the sites for up to two weeks, after which they must be released, transferred or held with a special one-week renewable extension.
  
Under the new policy the US military must notify the ICRC of the names and identification of detainees within two weeks of capture, the Times said.
  
US detention policy will be brought into focus as the Central Intelligence Agency set to release Monday a key 2004 report about its interrogation program that details alleged abuses that took place at CIA secret prisons overseas.

Date created : 2009-08-23

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