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U-N Human Rights Chief Wants Probe Into Taleban Prisoner Deaths - 2001-11-30


The U-N human rights commissioner has called for an investigation into reports of some prisoners being executed at a fort near the northern Afghanistan city of Mazar-e-Sharif.

High Commissioner Mary Robinson says the true circumstances surrounding the deaths of some 600 Taleban fighters and their foreign allies held prison at a fort should be fully known. The prisoners were rounded up by Northern Alliance forces that overtook the Mazar-e-Sharif area nearly a week ago.

The U-N commissioner's call for an investigation came as some London newspapers published photos of dead Taleban prisoners who had their hands tied behind their backs.

Ms. Robinson has also called on Amnesty International and other human rights groups to get involved in the prison death probe.

However, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said that no such inquiry is needed. Mr. Straw says the prisoners were slain in the heat of battle against their Northern Alliance captors.

U-S , British and Northern Alliance officials say the fighting broke out after mostly-foreign Taleban prisoners overpowered their guards at the fort, seized the armory and attacked Northern Alliance forces. Fighting was so fierce that it took three days to put down the prisoner rebellion.

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