Unlawful Detention at Bagram Air Base

Document Date: February 26, 2010

The U.S. government's Bagram detention facility has been the focus of widespread media attention and public concern for many years, but very little information is publically available about the secrecy-shrouded facility or the prisoners held there. Since 2002, the U.S. government has detained indefinitely thousands of people there in harsh conditions and without charge, without access to lawyers, without access to courts, and without a meaningful opportunity to challenge their detention. The United States is reportedly holding more than 1,800 people there today and some have been imprisoned for more than seven years. Some of the U.S. government’s most brutal torture practices were inflicted on prisoners at Bagram and allegations of mistreatment and abuse continue to surface; in fact, at least two prisoners have died there. There is public concern in the U.S. and around the world that Bagram has become, in effect, the new Guantánamo, except with hundreds more prisoners held indefinitely, with less due process, in harsher conditions.

The ACLU has filed habeas corpus petitions challenging the illegal detention of four men who have been held — some for nearly two years — at Bagram.

>> Learn more about the habeas corpus cases challenging illegal detention at Bagram

The ACLU has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for records relating to the detention and treatment of prisoners held at the Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. In January 2010, in response to the ACLU’s lawsuit, the Defense Department released for the first time a list of the 645 prisoners held at Bagram in September 2009.

>> Learn more the ACLU's Freedom of Information Act request for information about detainees held at Bagram

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