UK's defense ministry confirms holding facility at Afghan base, denies detentions are unlawful

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Britain's defense minister says that up to 90 Afghan nationals are being detained in a holding facility at Camp Bastion in southern Afghanistan, but denies that the men are being held illegally.

Lawyers acting on behalf of eight detainees say their clients have been held for between eight and 14 months in breach of international law and have been denied access to counsel.

British forces in Afghanistan are allowed to detain suspects for 96 hours but can hold them longer in "exceptional circumstances."

Defense Secretary Philip Hammond told the BBC on Wednesday that the government is working toward the swift and safe transfer of the detainees.

He also described claims by Public Interest Lawyers that the facility at Camp Bastion has been kept secret as "patently ridiculous."