[Ppnews] Bagram prisoner Yunus Rahmatullah v British Government

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Nov 23 10:57:30 EST 2011

Reprieve +44 (0)207 427 1082  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Wed 23 November 2011)

Hearing tomorrow 1030am Court of Appeal:
Bagram prisoner Yunus Rahmatullah v British Government

Lawyers representing a prisoner held illegally at 
the US military prison at Bagram Airbase will 
today seek to force the British Government to secure his release.
Yunus Rahmatullah was picked up in Iraq by 
British forces in 2004 and handed over for 
rendition by the US to Afghanistan. He has been 
held without charge or trial in the notorious 
Bagram Theater Internment Facility for over seven years.

In a compelling habeas case, Mr Rahmatullah's 
legal team will argue in the Court of Appeal that 
the British Government has the power to secure 
his release and is duty bound to do so.

All welcome.

Yunus Rahmatullah vs Secretary of State for 
Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Others
1030 am Thursday 24th October
Court 71, Court of Appeal
The Master of the Rolls; Lord Justice Maurice Kay; Lord Justice Sullivan


Notes to editors

1. For further information please go to 
or contact Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office on +44 (0)20 7427 1082

Rahmatullah has been held beyond the rule of law 
for over seven years in Bagram Airforce Base. He 
is said to be in a very grave mental and physical condition.

In February 2009, after years of government 
denials that the UK had been involved in any 
rendition operations, then-Secretary of State for 
Defence John Hutton announced to Parliament that 
UK forces had captured two men in Iraq in 
February 2004, and handed them to US forces. In 
subsequent statements to Parliament, the 
government revealed that in March 2004, British 
officials had become aware of the US intention to 
transfer the men from Iraq to Afghanistan.

The British government admitted its complicity in 
crime (kidnapping, otherwise called rendition), 
admitted it was wrong, and appeared to apologize. 
Yet it did not and refused to identify the men - 
a crucial step if they are to be reunited with 
their basic human rights. Indeed, the government 
has apparently done nothing over the past seven 
years to ensure that they receive legal assistance.

Reprieve led a complicated and expensive search 
for the identity of these men, which covered 
three continents over ten months. One of the men 
has been identified as Amanatullah Ali and the other as Yunus Rahmatullah.

Yunus Rahmatullah, also known by his nickname 
'Saleh Huddin', was raised in the Gulf states. 
For six years, he was held incommunicado, unable 
to even contact his family. Reprieve has been 
told by multiple sources that, as a result of his 
abuse in UK and US custody, he is in catastrophic 
mental and physical shape, and now spends most of 
his time in the mental health cells at Bagram.

Yunus's family insist on keeping their current 
location confidential. They are legally in their 
country of residence, but fear that they will 
suffer reprisals if they are known to be opposing 
the British and US governments.

Yunus’s mother Fatima Rahmatullah issued the 
following statement on April 15, 2010:

“Yunus is the youngest and closest son to my 
heart. I lost my other son, his only brother, in 
a tragic accident. Now, Yunus is my only hope in 
life. I see him in my dreams; I pray daily that I 
will see him in my waking hours again.

“Our family was shocked when we learned that the 
British government might have been behind Yunus’ 
disappearance.  I am told the British government 
has refused even to confirm that Yunus was the 
person they seized six years ago. As a mother, 
this is a position that I struggle to understand."

Reprieve sued the UK Government to formally 
identify Yunus Rahmatullah, and is now 
for habeas relief in the British courts. The case 
is now in the Court of Appeal.

3. Originally used to process prisoners captured 
during Operation Enduring Freedom, 
Internment Facility has become backlogged with 
prisoners who are held for years without charge, trial or legal rights.

Hamidullah Khan, for example, was picked up while 
travelling from Karachi to his father's village 
in Waziristan to salvage the family's possesions 
during the ongoing military operation. He was 
just fourteen. He is currently being held at 
Bagram and 
family are desperate for his return.

Unlike detainees at Guantánamo, prisoners at 
are still being held in a legal black-hole; they 
have no access to lawyers and thus are unable to 
challenge their detention, despite the fact that 
between 2002 and 2008 several prisoners who had 
undergone torture were released without having even been put on trial.

As a senator and presidential candidate, Obama 
unequivocally rejected the "false choice between 
fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus". 
Yet when his adminstration took office it chose 
to stand by Bush's legal arguments concerning 
Bagram detainees: as enemy combatants they had no constitutional rights.

have been subjected to beatings, stress 
positions, sexual abuse and humiliation, sensory 
deprivation, sleep, food and water deprivation, 
exposure to cold temperature, dousing with cold 
water and blaring of loud music.

Dergoul, a British National, was injured by the 
Northern Alliance and then sold to the US for 
$5,000. While detained at Bagram, he suffered 
frostbite for which he was denied medical care. 
He ultimately required the amputation of the affected limb.

was a taxi driver, known to be innocent by his 
interrogators, who was murdered by his captors in 
December 2002. He was subjected to over 100 
sadistic blows to his legs by various guards, 
strikes performed as "a kind of running joke". As 
a result, his legs became "pulpified", according 
to the autopsy report, and the blunt trauma killed him.

Reprieve's local partner 
Project Pakistan (JPP) is fighting a 
ground-breaking case filed on behalf of seven 
Pakistanis imprisoned in Bagram Air Base, which 
the Pakistan Government over their role in 
renditions. Awwal Khan, 
Khan, Abdul Haleem Saifullah, Fazal Karim, Amal 
Khan, Iftikhar Ahmad and 
Rahmatullah were abducted from Pakistan and taken 
to Bagram, where they have been kept without 
charge or trial since 2003. One prisoner is 
merely 16 years of age and was seized two years 
ago at the age of 14. Another was not permitted 
to speak to his family for six years, and is 
believed to be in a grievous physical and psychological condition.

For the BBC's reporting on allegations of abuse 
and neglect at Bagram please 

Bagram prison originally consisted of crude pens 
fashioned from metal cages surrounded by coils of 
razor wire. Roughly twenty people shared a cage, 
sleeping on foam mats and using plastic buskets 
as toilets. Military personnel described it as 
"far more spartan" than Guantánamo.

Faced with serious overcrowding in 2004, the 
military began refurbishing the prison and 
installed flush toilets. As of 2005, the US Army 
claimed that Bagram had a maximum capacity of 595 
prisoners. The basic infrastructure, however, 
remained the same. Hundreds of detainees were 
still held in wire-mesh pens and exercise, 
kitchen and bathroom space was minimal.

In August 2008 the US government awarded a $50 
for a new prison. This is now completed, but in 
the wake of the redevelopment reports still 
circulate of an undisclosed part of the site 
(sometimes referred to as a "Temporary Screening 
Facility") where 
practices continue.
a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce 
the human rights of prisoners, from death row to 
Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates 
and educates, working on the frontline, to 
provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay 
for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of 
law around the world, securing each person’s 
right to a fair trial and saving lives.  Clive 
Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has 
spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.

Reprieve’s current casework involves representing 
in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, assisting 
over 70 
facing the death penalty around the world, and 
conducting ongoing 
into the rendition and the secret detention of 
‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on 
terror.’ Follow Reprieve on twitter: 
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