Sarposa prison

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Sarposa Prison
Part of the War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
Location Kandahar, Afghanistan
31°37′08″N 65°40′05″E / 31.61889°N 65.66806°E / 31.61889; 65.66806Coordinates: 31°37′08″N 65°40′05″E / 31.61889°N 65.66806°E / 31.61889; 65.66806

The Sarposa prison is a high security prison in Kandahar, Afghanistan, used to hold Taliban militants and other criminals including drug traffickers. The prison has been subject to two major escapes, first in a coordinated attack in May 2008, and more recently in a tunneling escape that occurred in April 2011.

Use by the Taliban[edit]

According to American intelligence analysts the Taliban used the prison as a "political prison".[1] Guantanamo captive Abd Al Rahim Abdul Raza Janko described being held in the prison following his torture by the Taliban.

Post-Taliban use[edit]

The record shows that the prison continued to be used in the post-Taliban era for detention and interrogation.[2]

Guantanamo captive Sultan Sari Sayel Al Anazi faced the allegation that when he was held in the prison, prior to being sent to Guantanamo:[3] While imprisoned at Sarapuza prison in Afghanistan the detainee collaborated with other prisoners to hide money in mattresses and bed frames in his prison cell.

A number of the captives were later transported in May 2012 to extrajudicial detention in the Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba,[2] and finally to the Parwan Detention Facility next to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

Captives reported to have been in held in American custody in Kandahar[edit]

Abdul Bin Mohammed Bin Abess Ourgy
  • Testified he was held in Kabul, Kandahar and Bagram before he was transferred to Guantanamo.[4]
Abdul Hai Mutmaen
Fazal Mohammad
  • An alleged former Taliban commander, asserted that the authorities in Kandahar fed the captives starvation rations; did not treat their wounds; subjected them to beatings, sexual humiliation, and attacks by vicious dogs.[5]
Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa
  • Khirullah Khairkhwa was the Taliban's Governor of Herat Province in 2000 and early 2001.
  • Fazal Mohammad reported he had seen Khirullah Khairkhwa being abused when they were both held in Kandahar in 2002.[5]
  • Khirullah Khairkhwa was transferred to Guantanamo.[6]
Murat Kurnaz
  • A German resident, has testified before the German parliament that his American captors allowed German special forces to beat and threaten him in Kandahar.[2][7][8][9]
  • Eventually transferred to Guantanamo.
Sayed Nabi Siddiqui
  • Afghan police officer who claims he was abused during 40 days he spent in US custody in 2004.[10][11]
  • Sayed Nabi Siddiqui reports being held in Gardez, Kandahar, Bagram [10]
Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil
  • Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil was the last Taliban Foreign Minister.[12]
  • Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil sent the USA prior warning of the upcoming attacks on September 11, 2001.[12]
  • Defected from the Taliban in October 2001, prior to his capture.[13]
  • Fazal Mohammad reported he had seen Muttawakil being abused when they were both held in Kandahar in 2002.[5]

Prison attack of 2008[edit]

In May 2008, 200 prisoners went on hunger strike protesting detention without charge for up to two years.[14] Many others faced summary trials they felt were unfair.[14] Forty-seven inmates physically stitched their mouths shut. The strike ended when the Afghan parliament agreed to review their detentions.

On June 13, 2008, the Taliban orchestrated the escape of 1,200 prisoners, including 350 Taliban[15] by having two suicide bombers in a tanker truck[16] blow up the main gates. Subsequently, 30 men arrived on motorrcyles, killed 15 guards, and broke the locks on every cell.[17]

Following the prison breakout, the prison was rebuilt with major fortifications.

Tunneling escape of 2011[edit]

On April 24, 2011, a 350m tunnel that had been dug across a highway and under the prison walls, was used in the escape of about 500 Taliban inmates.[18] The escape has been compared to the Stalag Luft III tunnel escape in World War 2.[19] The breakout was not detected for four hours, during which most of the prisoners were transported away. Although the government claimed to have re-arrested several dozen escapees, Taliban reports claim this to be untrue.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ OARDEC (26 June 2006). "Unclassified Summary of Evidence for Administrative Review Board in the case of Janko, Abd AL Rahim Abdul Raza". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 73–75. Retrieved 2008-05-05. 
  2. ^ a b c John Goetz, Holger Stark (September 3, 2007). "German Soldiers under fire: New Testimony May Back Kurnaz Torture Claims". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 
  3. ^ OARDEC (2 May 2005). "Unclassified Summary of Evidence for Administrative Review Board in the case of Al Anazi, Sultan Sari Sayel". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 8–10. Retrieved 2008-05-05. 
  4. ^ Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Abdul Bin Mohammed Bin Abess Ourgy's Combatant Status Review Tribunal - pages 34-42
  5. ^ a b c d e "Taliban prisoner claims sex abuse in Afghan jail". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. July 28, 2002. Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  6. ^ list of prisoners (.pdf), US Department of Defense, May 15, 2006
  7. ^ "Did German soldiers abuse ex-prisoner?". United Press International. January 8, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-08. 
  8. ^ "German Soldiers Accused of Abusing Terror Suspect". Deutsche Welle. January 8, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-08. 
  9. ^ "Germany probes 2 in ex-Guantanamo inmate abuse case". Reuters. January 8, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-08. 
  10. ^ a b Carlotta Gall (May 12, 2004). "An Afghan Gives His Own Account of U.S. Abuse". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-09-14. [dead link]
  11. ^ "US military hit by fresh prisoner abuse allegations". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. May 15, 2004. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  12. ^ a b Kate Clark (September 7, 2002). "Taleban 'warned US of huge attack'". BBC. Retrieved 2007-01-16. 
  13. ^ "Taleban minister's 'peace role' mystery". BBC. October 17, 2001. Retrieved 2007-07-01. 
  14. ^ a b Time magazine, "Taliban Militants Storm Afghan Jail", June 13, 2008
  15. ^ a b "Taliban reveal details of daring Kandahar prison escape". BBC News. April 25, 2011. 
  16. ^ http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/terrorism_weekly_june_18
  17. ^ "Is the Taliban Making a Comeback?". Time. June 17, 2008. 
  18. ^ Shah, Taimoor; Rubin, Alissa J. (April 25, 2011). "Taliban Prison Break Sets Hundreds Free at Afghan Prison". The New York Times. 
  19. ^ Jon Boone (25 April 2011). "Afghanistan's great escape: how 480 Taliban prisoners broke out of jail". London: The guardian. quote:Kandahar's prison may not be Stalag Luft III but in terms of ingenuity, organisation and sheer cunning the successful break-out by at least 480 Taliban prisoners in the early hours of Monday morning rivals anything pulled off by British POWs in the infamous German prison camp.