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Issue #1650      August 6, 2014

“No doubt” on British torture and rendition

A human rights charity has accused British troops in Afghanistan of imprisoning and torturing a man. Reprieve and Leigh Day solicitors are taking legal action in a bid to force the government to investigate claims that Yunus Rahmatullah was waterboarded, dragged around behind a British military vehicle and beaten until he was unconscious.

Mr Rahmatullah was released earlier this year after spending 10 years in secret detention at Bagram airbase and Abu Ghraib prison. His arrest was publicly announced by former defence secretary John Hutton in February 2009.

Reprieve legal director Kat Craig said that there was “no longer any doubt that the British government bears responsibility for his torture and illegal rendition to Bagram. The government must now come clean about the full extent of British involvement in this disgraceful episode in our history — only then will Yunus be able to move on.”

Mr Rahmatullah claims that British soldiers made him lie for long periods of time in a coffin-type box. Later, in the custody of US military his torture extended to sexual humiliation. The government has told Reprieve and Leigh Day that it would be looking into the case, but the legal team representing Mr Rahmatullah believes the Ministry of Defence has been reticent and sluggish in its response.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “These allegations of wrong doing by UK soldiers, which have been made 10 years after the event, are already being investigated by the Iraq Historic Allegations Team. As the case is subject to ongoing legal action we are unable to comment further.”

But solicitor Rosa Curling said that “to date, the UK government has refused to investigate its role in the decision taken to transfer our client in to US custody, when it knew there was a real risk such a transfer would expose him to torture, mistreatment and abuse.”

Ms Curling added that Mr Rahmatullah’s case exposed “a catalogue of errors on the part of the Brits.” She said: “Justice must now be done and done swiftly.”

Morning Star

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