ICRC REPORT ON THE TREATMENT OF FOURTEEN "HIGH VALUE DETAINEES" IN CIA CUSTODY
1.2. CONTINUOUS SOLITARY CONFINEMENT AND INCOMMUNICADO DETENTION
Throughout the entire period during which they were held in the CIA detention program— which ranged from sixteen months up to almost four and a half years and which, for eleven of the fourteen was over three years—the detainees were kept in continuous solitary confinement8 and incommunicado detention. They had no knowledge of where they were being held, no contact with persons other than their interrogators or guards. Even their guards were usually masked and, other than the absolute minimum, did not communicate in any way with the detainees. None had any real—let alone regular—contact with other persons detained, other than occasionally for the purposes of inquiry when they were confronted with another detainee. None had any contact with legal representation. The fourteen had no access to news from the outside world, apart from in the later stages of their detention when some of them occasionally received printouts of sports news from the internet and one reported receiving newspapers.
None of the fourteen had any contact with their families, either in written form or through family visits or telephone calls. They were therefore unable to inform their families of their fate. As such, the fourteen had become missing persons. In any context, such a situation, given its prolonged duration, is clearly a cause of extreme distress for both the detainees and families concerned and itself constitutes a form of ill-treatment.
In addition, the detainees were denied access to an independent third party. In order to ensure accountability, there is a need for a procedure of notification to families, and of notification and access to detained persons, under defined modalities, for a third party, such as the ICRC. That this was not practiced, to the knowledge of the ICRC, neither for the fourteen nor for any other detainee who passed through the CIA detention program, is a matter of serious concern.
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