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Addicts Chained and Beaten at Islamic Rehab

Pakistani police raid a seminary where young addicts were treated "like animals."

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Beatings were common Thinkstock

By Will Godfrey

12/13/11

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Young drug addicts were chained in filthy conditions at a religious rehab in Karachi, Pakistan that was raided by police last night. About 60 young men were at the Islamic seminary. They were sent there by their parents, who paid around $150 to put their addicted kids through a program of Islamic instruction and worship. Anyone caught dealing drugs or trying to escape was held in chains in the basement, and could also be beaten with sticks—up to 200 lashes. "They were kept there like animals," says police officer Akram Naeem. Young children also visited the seminary for religious instruction, and they too were chained up if they disobeyed their teachers. One seminary administrator was arrested. But several of the addicts' parents went to the police station to protest about the raid: "I brought my grown up son here because he is a drug addict and he was making my life miserable. I don't want to take him back," said one. With little state help available for Pakistan's addicts, many unregulated seminaries fill the gap.

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