Torture & rendition


Government challenged in High Court on Afghan detainee abuse

Allegations of British complicity in the torture and abuse of detainees in Afghanistan will be scrutinised at a Judicial Review in the High Court from19 April, 1.30pm at the High Court of Justice, challenging the policy of transferring persons captured by UK forces in Afghanistan into Afghan custody.

The Review has been brought by Public Interest Lawyers [1] on behalf of peace activist Maya Evans [2], and is scheduled to last until 29 April.

Detainees transferred from UK custody have alleged a wide-range of abuse at the hands of the Afghan authorities, including beatings,electrocution, sleep deprivation, stress positions and whipping with rubber cables [3], and Amnesty International has called on NATO 'to suspend all transfers of detainees ... to Afghan authorities on the grounds that detainees face substantial risk of torture and ill-treatment' [4].

Police are already investigating allegations of MI5 complicity in the abuse of British resident Binyam Mohamed whilst he was held by the US in Afghanistan [5], and Human Rights Watch has called for "an independent judicial inquiry into the role ... of British security services in the torture of terrorism suspects in Pakistan" amidst "clear" evidence of complicity [6].

Maya Evans said: "The case has already been heard in Canada where it's been proven sever human rights abuses on innocent Afghan people took place. This case will investigate whether British policy has breached international law and is guilty of the same. Our human rights record abroad is already a shocking embarrassement, British policy needs urgent reform. We wouldn't tolerate torture in this country, we shouldn't be facilitating it abroad. "


[1] Public Interest Lawyers have been involved in a number of similar high-profile cases, including that of Baha Mousa, the Iraqi receptionist beaten to death by British troops in Basra in 2003 (

[2] In December 2005 she became the first person to be convicted of participating in an “unauthorized” demonstration within 1km of Parliament for reading out the names of British soldiers who had died as a result of the war in Iraq, opposite the Cenotaph. See: “MPs condemn arrest of woman who spoke out”, Daily Mail, 8 December 2005

( In 2007 she received the Liberty Campaigner of the Year Award for her work around civil liberties.

[3] Documents obtained under Freedom of Information Act, as well as through the disclosure process for the Review.

[4] 'Afghanistan: Stop Transfer of Detainees', Amnesty International, 7 February 2008,

[5] 'Police investigate claim MI5 was complicit in Shaker Aamer's torture', Guardian, 19 February 2010,

[6] 'UK: Set Judicial Inquiry on Complicity in Torture', 24 November 2009,