10 Secret Prisons Governments Are Hiding

10) CIA Prison In the aftermath of 9/11, the existence of a CIA prison in Romania was frequently reported – but its location was unknown This remained the case until 2011, when the Associated Press and German media found that the intelligence agency HAD indeed operated a secret prison in the capital, Bucharest

It was the country’s ‘National Registry for Classified Information’ headquarters, a government building, which was chosen as a makeshift prison where terrorist suspects were interrogated The prison was part of a network of so-called ‘black sites’, which the CIA operated overseas All these prisons were closed by 2006, and the CIA's detention and interrogation program ended in 2009 But it wasn’t JUST the location of the prison that was being kept a secret Activities at the prison were also kept under wraps

In 2011 and 2012, two terrorism suspects filed a lawsuit alleged that they had been illegally held and tortured at ‘black sites’ in Romania and Lithuania The European Court of Human Rights found that the Romanian prison had indeed contravened the European Human Rights Convention, which prohibits torture, illegal detention and the death penalty As such, Romania AND Lithuania were ordered to pay €100,000 each to both complainants 9) Xinjiang Internment Camps Recent satellite imagery has indicated that a series of secret prisons are operating in China – Internment camps across the region of Xinjiang for the detention of Uighurs Uighurs are the country’s predominantly Muslim minority

According to The Week, Uighurs have had a long history of rebellion against Chinese rule An INCREASING resentment among Uighurs towards Beijing, however, has led to a string of terrorist attacks over the past decade, which have led to action from Chinese authorities As such, WIRED reports that Uighurs are being kept under surveillance by the government, with thousands being sent to detention and indoctrination centers ABC News estimates that 2 million Uighurs and other Muslims have been rounded up and detained in these camps, where they are forced to undergo patriotic training and so-called ‘de-extremification’ They aren’t put on trial, have no access to lawyers, or the right to challenge the decision

Worse still, the length of their detention is indefinite since it’s the authorities who decide when an individual has been ‘transformed’ Beijing, however, has repeatedly denied the allegations, saying people WILLINGLY attend special ‘vocational schools’, which combat ‘terrorism and religious extremism’ 8) Camp 7 Somewhere in Guantanamo Bay lies one of the most secretive prison units in the world Camp 7, as it’s known, was built in a hidden location away from the main prison In fact, it was SO carefully hidden that no one knew of its existence for 2 YEARS after it opened in 2006

The government has classified Camp 7’s location and officials won’t divulge any details about it What we DO know, however, is that it houses 15 ‘high-value detainees’, including supposed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [ca-lid sheek] and 4 alleged co-conspirators Some of the only other details to have emerged include prisoner allegations of mistreatment while at the camp During a tribunal hearing, one of the camp’s inmates, Ramzi Bin al Shibh, [Ramsey bin al Sheeb] complained that his cell always vibrated and made strange noises which ‘prohibit[ed] him from functioning’ He believed the noises were part of a campaign to punish him

The US military denied these allegations of psychological torture and prosecutors at the hearing questioned the inmate’s mental state, suggesting that he was delusional 7) The Salt Pit One of the first ‘black sites’ where suspected al-Qaeda terrorists were interrogated after the 9/11 attacks was a secret underground CIA prison in Afghanistan, known as ‘The Salt Pit’ In 2014, the US government declassified a US Senate Report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, which operated there during this time The report revealed that detainees at The Salt Pit were shackled naked to walls in total darkness in a facility that was reportedly 45 degrees Fahrenheit and played loud music around the clock Detainees were given only buckets for their waste

The report described in particular the treatment of Ridha al-Najjar who was the first detainee to be held by the agency at The Salt Pit after it opened in September 2002 CIA interrogators described al-Najjar as ‘clearly a broken man’ and ‘on the verge of complete breakdown’ as a result of the severe procedures inflicted on him at the prison In fact, one of the interrogators at The Salt Pit was reported to have said that the prison was an effective place for interrogations because it is the closest thing he had seen to a ‘dungeon’ 6) US Floating Prison Criminal activity isn’t just restricted to land – in fact, so much of it happens on the ocean, that it needs its very own prison system In 2012 the US Southern Command was tasked with leading the war on drugs in the Americas and consequently launched a multinational military campaign called Operation Martillo

Its aim is to prevent the passage of cocaine and other hard drugs – mainly from South to Central America – by deploying Coast Guard cutters to cruise the Pacific Ocean on the hunt for smugglers When these cutters capture a boat transporting drugs, the smugglers are brought onboard and shackled to the deck until the Coast Guard makes arrangements for them to be transported back to the US for trial They can be detained on these boats for weeks at a time And this rather unconventional type of prison has indeed been successful in the prevention of crime In September 2017, the Coast Guard seized more than 22,000kgs of cocaine and heroin in San Diego, worth an estimated $679

3 million 5) Sednaya Over the course of Syria’s 8-year civil war, tens of thousands of people have been detained at Syria’s high-security Sednaya [said-nigh-ah] prison But what’s NOT been revealed are the details surrounding the prison itself, since it’s been off limits to journalists and monitoring groups in recent years Amnesty International, however, is one group that knows enough to justify its labelling of the prison as a ‘human slaughterhouse’ The organization estimates that every week 20-50 people are secretly taken from their cells to be hanged in the middle of the night, meaning that as many as 13,000 people have been killed in Sednaya [said-nigh-ah] since 2011

Meanwhile, many others are alleged to have died after being repeatedly tortured and systematically deprived of food, water and medicine In 2017 following the declassification of aerial photographs, the US alleged that the Syrian government had constructed a crematorium at the prison Its purpose being to dispose of murdered prisoners in order to hide evidence of the shocking extent of the killings The Syrian government denied the US’s allegations of the crematorium at the prison, as well as Amnesty’s allegations of mass executions 4) Azouli Azouli is Egypt’s secret prison

In fact, it’s so secret that it can’t be seen by civilians and even its prisoners are taken there blindfolded It lies inside an extensive military camp in a city 62 miles north-east of Cairo And it is here, on the third floor, that hundreds of prisoners are held in cramped cells before they are reported to simply just disappear – outside of judicial oversight According to former inmate testimonies, the majority of Azouli [ah-zoo-lee] detainees are Salafis, ultraconservative Muslims, who are suspected of involvement in militant attacks The testimonies also alleged that detainees have been disappearing from Azouli since 2013

Prisoners are said to be routinely electrocuted, beaten and hung by their wrists for hours, until they surrender specific information, give a confession or are simply deemed of no further use to their interrogators In fact, The Guardian reports that up to FOUR HUNDRED prisoners are still being tortured at the prison And since the prisoners at Azouli [ah-zoo-lee] are held outside of Egypt’s legal system, this means that their jailers are able to act without fear of even hypothetical consequences 3) Labor Camps Satellite images released in 2017 revealed the extent of North Korea’s network of secret labor camps The country’s capital, Pyongyang, denies the existence of its political penal labor camps, known as kwan-li-so [spoken as it looks]

Instead, it says prisoners in its ‘re-education’ penitentiaries, known as kyo-hwa-so, [key-yo hua so] are treated with ‘warm love and consideration’ But in a report from the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, humanitarian workers and investigators detail horrific treatment far removed from ‘warm love and consideration’ They write that the brutal and arduous labor, including logging and mining, combined with a grossly inadequate diet and lack of medicine, leads to a ‘dreadfully large number of deaths in detention’ Former prisoners told the Committee that the majority of inmates are detained for ‘crimes that are not really crimes’ That’s because the North Korean Criminal Code allows severe punishment for acts as inoffensive as unauthorized gatherings and forms of dissent such as anti-state propaganda and demonstrations

In 2014, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry estimated that as many as 120,000 people were detained in North Korean political prison camps 2) Penny Lane In the years that followed 9/11, yet another classified CIA operation was being carried out This time it took place between 2003 and 2006 in 8 small cottages in Guantanamo Bay dubbed ‘Penny Lane’ When 632 prisoners streamed into Guantanamo Bay in 2002, the CIA recognized it as an unprecedented opportunity to identify sources of al-Qaeda As such, the organization recruited double agents from the suspected terrorists held in Guantanamo Bay

It was part of a secret program, which promised prisoners freedom, safety, and millions of dollars from the agency's secret war chest, in exchange for helping the US infiltrate al-Qaeda abroad Dozens of prisoners were evaluated for the role but only a few were turned into double agent spies who actually signed agreements to work for the CIA Some of the men who took part in the program did indeed help the CIA track down and kill some of al-Qaeda’s top operatives But the US government also admitted that at least 16% of the operatives rejoined terrorist groups in the fight against America 1) LGBT Prisons In 2018 a Russian National Government Organization claimed that dozens of LGBT people had suffered ‘abusive treatment’ in secret prisons

Testimonies alleged that these actions had been ‘directed by the highest officials in Chechnya’ [ch-etch-neey-ah] LGBT people were reportedly abducted and locked up in secret detention sites purely because of their sexual orientation The organization’s claims are contained within a report prepared alongside Russian newspaper ‘Novaya Gazeta’, which reported that Chechen police had rounded up more than 100 gay men in 2017 ‘in connection with their non-traditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such’ It claimed that 3 were killed while many others were subject to prison beatings and electro-shock torture In fact, according to the National Government Organization, many people have fled the country over the past year to escape persecution

Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov’s [cad-ah-rov] press secretary denied the allegations of secret prisons based on his denial of the existence of homosexuals in Chechnya He said that ‘it is impossible to detain and oppress those who simply don’t exist in the Republic’

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