Britain goes on trial over torture of suspects in Afghanistan

Britain has been accused of complicity in the torture of Taliban suspects arrested and handed over to the Afghan security forces to face "horrible abuse".

The allegations are made by the peace campaigner Maya Evans, from St Leonards, East Sussex, who yesterday went to the High Court to seek a judicial review of the Government's detainee transfer policy in Afghanistan.

Ms Evans claims that the Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office adopted the approach "of seeing no evil, hearing no evil and speaking no evil" so they did not have to take responsibility for Taliban suspects after they had left British hands.

She is being represented by Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), who have gathered material which they say shows a wide range of abuse of suspects handed over to the National Directorate of Security (NDS), a secret service organisation in Afghanistan.

Among the nine cases are allegations of beatings, electrocution, sleep deprivation and whipping with rubber cables. One detainee said he was punched and hit on the head, while a second prisoner said he was subjected to stress positions and sleep deprivation. Two others said they suffered electric shocks and were beaten with a cable.

PIL say the "horrific brutality" of NDS is well-documented, and that the UK detainee transfer policy violates Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects against inhuman and degrading treatment.

Ms Evans's lawyers argue the UK government has chosen to rely on a "manifestly unsafe" memorandum of understanding with the Afghan authorities that human rights obligations would be observed by the NDS.

Michael Fordham QC, appearing for Ms Evans, said in court: "The issue in this case is whether the practice of handing over of suspect insurgents to the NDS is compatible with Article 3." He told Lord Justice Richards, sitting with Mr Justice Cranston: "We will submit emphatically that it is not."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Voices
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
voices
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living