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NZ Must Review SAS Role After UN Report on Afghan Torture

NZ must review SAS role after UN Report on prisoner torture

The Government must review the SAS's role in joint operations with the Afghan Crisis Response Unit after the release of a United Nations report detailing widespread torture in Afghan detention facilities, Green Party Defence spokesperson Keith Locke said today.

A United Nations report released today says prisoners, including children, at many Afghan-run detention facilities have been subjected to torture.

"It is very likely that some of the prisoners our SAS have captured have been handed over to torture," said Mr Locke.

"In response to Green Party questions earlier this year, Defence Minister Wayne Mapp, admitted that there had been 35 separate joint operations involving our SAS where prisoners had been taken.

"Prisoners captured in joint operations in Kabul will have been handed over to the National Directorate of Security Department 90/124, which specializes in interrogating suspect captured by special forces.

"The UN report details the torture conducted in Department 90/124, including beating and electric shock treatment, including on children as young as 14.

"New Zealand can no longer deny all responsibility for subsequent mistreatment of prisoners by saying that the Crisis Response Unit is the detaining authority.

"There needs to be an urgent review of the SAS's continued involvement in these joint operations including finding out where these prisoners ended up and how they were treated or mistreated.

"Dr Mapp must release the report he instigated in August last year regarding prisoners arrested in joint SAS/Afghan Crisis Response Unit operations," said Mr Locke. "New Zealand would be better advised to make its contribution to Afghanistan by withdrawing the SAS unit now, and spending the money saved on additional development aid to Afghanistan."

Link to the full UN report: UNAMA_Detention_Full-Report_ENG.pdf

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