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Muslim British journalist slams US for illegally detaining people in Afghanistan


Islamabad : Yvonne Ridley, British Muslim journalist, Friday slammed the United States for illegally detaining people in Afghanistan and dumping 150 Pakistani children in orphanages.

Afghanistan’s Taliban had picked up Ridley along with her two guides close to the eastern city of Jalalabad in October 2001.

She had been working for Britain’s Sunday Express newspaper when arrested by the Taliban and she later converted to Islamabad.

Yvonne Ridley compared her detention by Taliban with the American detention centers in Afghanistan and said Taliban had respected her privacy but the American troops had forced Pakistani Afia Siddiqi to use male toilet at Bagram air base, north of Kabul.

Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad the British human rights activist said that the American forces are holding two Pakistani women in Bagram and they have now been moved to undisclosed location after she raised the issue two months ago.

Yvonne Ridley said that four or five women, including Arab and Asians, are also detained at Bagram in dark prison.

She said that 150 Pakistani children are also dumped in orphanages across Afghanistan, adding these children wonder what happened to their parents.

“It is a matter of humanity. We need to find the missing persons in Afghanistan as they would never come to light if we ignore them,” she said.

She also lashed out at the Pakistani security agencies for what she calling selling Muslims to the Americans as former President Musharraf has written in his book that every al-Qaeda man was sold out at 5000 dollars.

“We have to get women and children bring home, to get them out of darkness,” Yvonne Ridley said.

The British rights activist condemned the US treatment of prisoners in Afghanistan and said her detention with the Taliban was not inhuman like the Americans.

She recalled that her detention with Taliban was terrified and frightening but they more civilized than the Americans.

“They respected my privacy”, she said and added that US soldiers had been forcing Pakistani Afia Siddiqui to use common toilet with male prisoners at Bagram.

She rejected the ‘concocted’ story by the American of Afia Siddiqui and said the US had kept her for five years in Bagram and two US soldiers had shot and injured her.

“One US soldier shot her at front and another soldier shot her twice at the back,” Yvonne Ridley said.

She said that Afia Siddiqui has been subjected to strip search in the presence of male investigators.

“This shows the so-called civilized system in the US. She is the victim in the hands of the Americans,” she said.

Yvonne Ridley said that the US forces have kept a female Pakistani prison number 650 in Bagram, asking the people and journalists to campaign for her release.