Pakistani man held for 10 years says he was tortured by British troops in Iraq

 

Chief Reporter

A Pakistani man kept in British and then American custody for a decade is suing the UK Government over allegations that he was subjected to torture, including waterboarding, by British troops.

Yunus Rahmatullah claims he was subjected to brutal treatment by British soldiers after he was captured by special forces in Iraq in 2004 before being handed to American forces shortly afterwards.

The 31-year-old, who insists he was in Iraq to set up a rice-importation business and had no links to terror groups, has launched High Court proceedings and a civil-damages claim against the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Foreign Office after he was released from the US-run Bagram prison in Afghanistan in May.

Mr Rahmatullah is believed to have been held initially at a jointly run UK/US detention facility near Baghdad airport before being transferred to the notorious American-run Abu Ghraib jail and then rendered to Afghanistan. His lawyers say that throughout his detention he had no access to legal representation and was held without charge or trial.

Papers filed at the High Court this week – after Mr Rahmatullah was able to speak to his lawyers for the first time – detail allegations that he was subjected to extreme maltreatment by his British captors, including being tied to a vehicle and dragged behind it at high speed and locked in a cage to be attacked by dogs.

In the documents, seen by The Independent, Mr Rahmatullah claimed he was tied by his arms to either side of the wall in a 1m-wide room and beaten whenever he moved his head, and doused in cold water before being left with an air-conditioning machine running at full capacity.

The Pakistani national also detailed how he had been allegedly subjected to simulated drowning. Mr Rahmatullah’s detention and transfer from British to US custody was disclosed to MPs five years after his arrest. He had no contact with his family until 2010.

In 2011, the Court of Appeal ruled that he had been unlawfully detained and granted a writ of habeas corpus. But the Supreme Court later overturned the ruling after the Government argued it had no power to demand Mr Rahmatullah’s release by the US. He is now seeking a judicial review to order a full investigation into his alleged torture and rendition alongside damages.

Kat Craig, a legal director at the charity Reprieve and Mr Rahmatullah’s lawyer, said: “Now that he has been able to speak freely to his lawyers, there is 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.”

In a statement, the MoD said: “These allegations of wrongdoing by UK soldiers – which have been made 10 years after the event – are already being investigated by the [MoD’s] Iraq Historic Allegations Team. As the case is subject to ongoing legal action we are unable to comment further.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...