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Page last updated at 15:35 GMT, Sunday, 23 August 2009 16:35 UK

US names secret terror suspects

Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan
An unknown number of detainees are being held at Bagram, Afghanistan

The US military has begun notifying the Red Cross of the identities of terror suspects being held at secret camps in Iraq and Afghanistan, reports say.

The Red Cross, which has lobbied the Pentagon for years to give its staff access to all detention facilities, declined to confirm the changes.

The policy reportedly took effect this month with no public announcement.

Correspondents say that the move represents a victory for human rights groups seeking more US transparency.

The new approach is said to be part of a broad review of US detention and interrogation practice launched by the Obama administration.

Further scrutiny

Dozens of suspected foreign fighters captured in Iraq and Afghanistan are being held at so-called "temporary screening camps" run by US special forces at secret locations in Balad in Iraq and Bagram in Afghanistan.

Despite the change in policy, Red Cross officials are still not getting access to the highly secretive sites - something they do get at most other US military detention centres.

The Pentagon has previously said that providing information about these detainees could jeopardize counter-terrorism efforts.

It has refused to comment on the latest reports.

A spokeswoman for the Red Cross in Geneva told the BBC she could not comment on the reported changes, saying discussions about detention issues are always confidential.

This week, the detention policies of the former Bush administration are likely to come under further scrutiny with the publication of a CIA report dating from 2004 into its interrogation practices at that time.

It describes the physical and psychological abuse of detainees inside US-run facilities, including mock execution and, in one case, threatening a prisoner with a gun and a power drill.



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