No one was supposed to know about Yunus Rahmatullah. He was abducted and tortured by British troops, then handed to the US and rendered to Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan.
His identity was reduced to the anonymous ‘Prisoner B’ until our investigators uncovered his name and the events that led to his abduction.
Yunus lived a decade-long nightmare in the legal black hole of Bagram. He was finally released in 2014.
Yunus Rahmatullah has been through 10 years of unimaginable horror. Now that he has finally 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.
Kat Craig, Legal Director at Reprieve
Yunus, also known by his nickname ‘Salah’, was raised in the Gulf. In 2004, after major combat operations ended, Yunus went to Iraq to find work.
Despite having no involvement with any of the fighting in Iraq, Yunus was abducted by British forces and handed over to the Americans, who held him in Abu Ghraib and later rendered him to Bagram. He was never charged and never tried. Throughout his horrendous ten-year ordeal, he was never once allowed to meet with his lawyer.
In 2009, after years of denials that the UK had been involved in any rendition operations, the government admitted that UK forces had abducted two men in Iraq in February 2004 and handed them to US forces. These men were known only as Prisoner A and Prisoner B.
Reprieve fought long and hard to unearth the identities of these men – our search spanned three continents over ten months. We finally identified Prisoner B as Yunus Rahmatullah, and Prisoner A as Amanatullah Ali.
There is no doubt that the British government is responsible for Yunus’s torture and rendition. In July 2013 Reprieve filed documents with the UK courts in which Yunus detailed his abuse for the first time. He was blindfolded by UK soldiers, punched and kicked, and hit with rifle butts. He was tied to a moving vehicle and dragged across the ground, waterboarded, and beaten unconscious.
We are determined to secure justice for Yunus, so that he and his family can move on and return to some semblance of their former, peaceful lives. In November 2014, a High Court judge confirmed that Yunus’s case against the British government could proceed.
In addition, in 2010 we filed habeas corpus proceedings in the UK to secure Yunus’s release from detention. The UK Supreme Court found that Yunus was entitled to relief and strongly suggested that his rendition was a war crime.
“Yunus is the youngest and closest son to my heart. I lost my other son, his only brother, in a tragic accident. Now, Yunus is my only hope in life. I see him in my dreams; I pray daily that I will see him in my waking hours again.
Yunus’s mother Fatima Rahmatullah, before his release