The War on Terror has heralded in unprecedented times for those living in the democratic world. The way in which the Bush administration has dealt with detainees worldwide leaves major questions regarding the implementation of the human rights and the international rule of law.

The policy of transferring detainees, holding them incommunicado, keeping them off record books and outsourcing of torture has now become standard practice for many states.

These detainees have no fundamental rights such as access to a lawyer, fair hearing, and the right to humane and dignified treatment as required under the POW conditions of the Geneva Conventions. These figures are those who are being currently held across the world at the moment, since 2001, just through the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some 65,000 prisoners have been detained and subsequently freed.

The reason for these high numbers is that the strategy that has been adopted by the US has been to imprison anyone considered to be a suspect, regardless of what those grounds might be. In order to detain such a wide suspect list, the US have been forced to commandeer blocks and buildings in order to establish detention sites and interrogation facilities. These facilities can take the form of anything from a shipping container to an apartment block. The greatest concern stemming from this practice is the complete invisibility of any infrastructure. There is no method of recording the prisons, prisoners, or staff members hired to perform the interrogations.

The suspects are not merely processed by the Americans though, the detainees are sent to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Jordan, Egypt, Thailand, Malaysia and the British island of Diego Garcia. Particularly those detainees who are kept of any official registers
or books are frequently shuttled between the facilities in an attempt to extract information through a variety of interrogation techniques. These suspects have been termed by the US military as ‘ghost detainees’

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(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)