Controversy arose in May 2013 after BBC News Report revealed that British forces had been detaining approximately 85 Afghan nationals in a holding camp within Camp Bastion. The men had been arrested by British soldiers during raids in Helmand and Kandahar Provinces, and held for 8 to 14 months without charge.
The issue came to light after lawyers acting for eight of the detainees launched habeas corpus applications at the British High Court in London. The lawyers argue that the British army has no legal power to detain the men, that their internment amounted to unlawful detention, and that the men should be freed.
The problem for the British government is however that while they believe the detainees are linked to Taliban and/or criminal activities, the normal procedure is for Isaf forces (including British forces) to release or transfer detainees to Afghan custody after 96 hours. This can only be extended under "exceptional circumstances" when necessary to gather intelligence, or to protect British forces or local people. However, since November 2012, British forces have suspended transfers of detainees to Afghan custody because of fears the detainees may be abused.
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