UK Government defeated in Court of Appeal rendition & torture case

London, United Kingdom (Reprieve) – Today, the Court of Appeal in London ruled against the Government in a case brought by a victim of rendition and torture. Yunus Rahmatullah was snatched by UK forces in Iraq, handed over to the US and rendered to Bagram prison in Afghanistan in 2004. During his ordeal, he was subjected to torture, as well as being detained at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq before his rendition.

Image source: Reprieve

Image source: Reprieve

Mr Rahmatullah has taken the UK Government to court over the part it played in his ordeal. So far, Government lawyers have argued that the case should not be heard at all by British courts, but the Court of Appeal today ruled that it should continue. The court held that the full facts of the case must be heard before lower courts determine whether the UK government should be held liable. The case was being heard alongside another claim brought by Serdar Mohamed over UK involvement in his mistreatment in Afghanistan.

Mr Rahmatullah is being represented by legal charity Reprieve and lawyers at Leigh Day & Co.

Commenting, Kat Craig, legal director at Reprieve said:

“The Government is trying every trick in the book to ensure that torture victims do not get their day in court, but today they have been thwarted. Yunus Rahmatullah suffered horribly at the hands of US and UK personnel, and his case deserves to be heard. The Prime Minister is fond of saying that ‘sunlight is the best disinfectant’ – it is disturbing that his Government seems to be following the opposite course in this case.”

This report was prepared by Reprieve.

Reprieve is a small organisation of courageous and committed human rights defenders. Founded in 1999 by British human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, we provide free legal and investigative support to some of the world’s most vulnerable people: British, European and other nationals facing execution, and those victimised by states’ abusive counter-terror policies – rendition, torture, extrajudicial imprisonment and extrajudicial killing.