Prisoners cannot be transferred to Afghan custody due to risk of torture, admits Defence Secretary

Risk of abuse and mistreatment means UK forces cannot transfer suspected insurgents to Afghan intelligence service, judge told

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has conceded that UK-captured detainees in Afghanistan cannot currently be transferred to Afghan custody because of the risk of serious ill treatment.

A High Court judge was told today secret new information has led the minister to impose a moratorium on handing over suspect insurgents to the custody of the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) - the Afghan intelligence service.

The Defence Secretary was due to oppose an application by human rights lawyers for a court declaration that there is "a real risk" that detainees are in danger of being abused and tortured in Afghan jails.

The application is being brought on behalf of Afghan farmer Serdar Mohammed, 24, from the Kajaki district of Helmand Province in Afghanistan, who says he was arrested by UK forces in April 2010 while working in the fields of his family's farm.

He alleges he was tortured into giving a false confession that he was a member of the Taliban after being transferred to the NDS facility at Lashkar Gah.

Today Dinah Rose QC, appearing for Mohammed, told Lord Justice Moses that a letter had been received from the Defence Secretary stating that, "in the light of new information which has not been disclosed or described, there are currently reasonable grounds for believing that UK-captured detainees who are transferred to LashKar Gah would be at real risk of serious mistreatment".

Ms Rose said the minister had also decided to impose "a complete moratorium" on transfers to any NDS custody facility.

Miss Rose added that the minister's letter also stated that he would not now be contending in court that UK-captured detainees could currently be lawfully transferred to NDS custody.

In earlier hearings of the Mohammed case, his lawyers have asserted that Asadullah Khalid, the head of the NDS, is widely known to be personally involved in the torture of detainees.

They are accusing Foreign Office minister Lady Warsi of failing to question assurances given by Mr Khalid.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
News
peopleComedian launches stinging attack on PM
Life and Style
The collection displayed Versace’s softer side, with models wearing flowers and chiffon dresses in unusual colourings
fashionVersace haute couture review
Arts and Entertainment
'The Leaf'
artYes, it's a leaf, but a potentially very expensive one
News
Yoko Ono at the Royal Festival Hall for Double Fantasy Live
people'I wont let him destroy memory of John Lennon or The Beatles'
News
Could Greece leave the EU?
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'