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Australian forces holding several Afghan nationals ‘illegally’

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Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard meets members of the Australian Army 1st Mentoring Task Force during her visit to Multinational Base Tarin Kowt in southern Afghanistan October 2, 2010.

The Australian armed forces are “illegally” holding several Afghan nationals at a secret prison in the troubled southern Oruzgan Province.

Afghan officials say the prison is located at the Australian-controlled Trin Kowt military base in the country’s volatile south.

Sources say the exact number of inmates is not known and prisoners have been detained without trial.

The detainees’ lawyers said they have been held in custody without charge for several months, which amounts to unlawful detention and internment.

Australia forces are also refusing to hand over the prisoners to Afghan authorities. This is while the regulations require Australia to hand over detainees to Afghan authorities within four days.

Kabul government has already condemned the detention of its nationals by British troops in the UK-run Camp Bastion in the troubled Helmand Province. The British troops are holding up to 90 Afghan detainees suspected of killing British soldiers at the military prison.

Australia has about 1,500 troops in Afghanistan. A total of 38 Australian troops have been killed since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.


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