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Lawyers for American imprisoned by Taliban file urgent request to UN

Lawyers for Ryan Corbett, an American who was detained without charge by the Taliban in Afghanistan since August 2022, filed urgent requests to the United Nations on Thursday in the latest push for his release.

The petitions include testimony from two recently released non-U.S. detainees who described Corbett’s deteriorating mental and physical condition as well as descriptions of torture and other cruel and degrading treatment inflicted by the Taliban.

Filed before the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the petitions said those imprisoned with Corbett expressed concerns that the 40-year-old father of three , could die soon, due to medical problems, abuse or self-harm.

Former detainees described threats of physical violence made by the Taliban against Corbett, who they said was forced to listen to the torture of other prisoners in a cell where blood was visible on the walls.

The individuals also said Corbett was severely malnourished and suffered fainting spells and episodes, was rarely allowed to shower or use the bathroom, and was held in a cell on the basement floor. -ground, almost without sun or exercise.

Ryan Corbett in Afghanistan.

Courtesy of the Corbett family)


Suhail Saheen, head of the Taliban political office in Qatar, told CBS News he had no information about the torture allegations. “According to my information, he has regular access to doctors and telephone conversations with his family. Torture is illegal and prohibited by the Islamic Emirate,” he said.

If U.N. forces accept the petitions, they can open investigations and issue non-binding legal opinions declaring that a person is wrongly detained and calling for their release.

“The documents filed today are an urgent response to the horrific conditions in which Ryan has suffered for more than 20 months. It would be difficult to imagine conditions that would pose a greater immediate threat to an inmate’s life,” said Kate Gibson, one of the family’s lawyers, in a statement.

Anna Corbett, Ryan’s wife, said in a statement that her husband’s situation was “rapidly worsening” and that she and her children were “concerned that the president is not focused on returning to home before it’s too late.

“I have barely received communications from the White House, although I continue to request meetings with President Biden and (national security adviser) Jake Sullivan. These requests remain unanswered,” she said. said, noting that she recently met with Deputy Secretary of State Kurt. Campbell.

“The United States is concerned for the well-being of Americans detained in Afghanistan and is actively working to secure their release,” a State Department spokesperson told CBS News.

The White House and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Previously interviews With CBS News’ Margaret Brennan, Anna said she’s only had 5 phone calls with Ryan in the last 20 months. In what she called a “disturbing” call in March, Anna said Ryan “exhibited a significantly deteriorated mental state” and was beginning to believe what his captors had told him – that he had been forgotten by his country.

Anna Corbett attended the president’s State of the Union address in March to raise awareness of her husband’s case. Earlier this month, the Senate passed a resolution calling for Ryan Corbett’s release before his 41st birthday.

Mukhtar Ahmed contributed to this report.

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