No one was supposed to know about Yunus Rahmatullah. He was detained by British personnel, then handed to the US and rendered to Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan.
His identity was reduced to the anonymous ‘Prisoner B’ until Reprieve’s 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 illegal rendition to Bagram.
Kat Craig, Legal Director at Reprieve
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 detained by British forces and handed over to the Americans, who 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 detained 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.
We are determined to secure justice for Yunus, so that he and his family can move on and find some semblance of their former, peaceful lives. 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 speaking before his release
Britain’s most senior prosecutor has asked the Foreign Office to apply to withhold evidence from two survivors of a UK-US ‘rendition’, it emerged today.
The High Court has today ruled that a Blair-era renditions case should be heard in secret, following a request from the government under the controversial Justice and Security Act.
A landmark hearing on Britain’s Blair-era involvement in rendition has been moved into secret, after brief proceedings in an open court.
Illegal rendition cover up continues: Government seeks secret hearing for first time in victims’ case
The Government is asking the High Court to use secret proceedings in a case brought by victims of a UK-US rendition during the ‘War on Terror’. This is the first time such powers are set to be used in a rendition victims’ case, and it is being sought so the Government may avoid embarrassing revelations on how parliament and the public continue to be misled as to what happened.
The UK government is refusing to guarantee that it will not misuse the intercepted lawyer-client communications of two rendition victims in their legal cases again the British government.