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Homeland Security

UK ordered to release prisoner transferred to US custody

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Dec 15, IRNA -- The British government has been ordered to secure the release of a Pakistan detainee held since 2004 without charge or trial in the notorious US military prison at Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan.

In a landmark ruling, the Court of Appeal said the UK had to demand either the release of the 29-year-old Yunus Rahmatullah or his return to British custody, and or explain why it could not do that.

The British government was under questiion because it had transferred Rahmatullah to US custody under a memorandum of understanding after he was captured by British forces in Iraq nearly eight years ago.

Human rights group, which took up the case, described the ruling as 'historic' and 'unique' after using the ancient English common law principle of habeas corpus.

'Today's historic decision marks the first time any civilian legal system has penetrated Bagram, a legal black hole where nearly 3,000 prisoners - many rendered from all over the world - have been unlawfully held by the US military for up to a decade,'
Reprieve said.

“The United Kingdom must now do whatever it takes to send Yunus home to his mother. The Court is quite right - once the UK takes a prisoner it cannot simply wash its hands of him, or of the Geneva Conventions,” said Reprieve legal director Cori Crider.

“The government stands warned - failure to get Yunus out of Bagram now may be to aid and abet a war crime,” Crider said in a brief statement obtained by IRNA.

After the ruling the UK Foreign Office said it “will decide its next steps in due course,” but had argued during the case that Rahmatullah was 'in the power, custody and control of the US' and British ministers could not order his release.

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Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30713514



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