Yunus Rahmatullah

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Yunus Rahmatullah
Nationality Pakistan
Citizenship Pakistani
Known for Held by the USA, in extrajudicial detention, in Afghanistan

Yunus Rahmatullah is a citizen of Pakistan arrested in Iraq by British forces in 2004 and then rendered to a US prison in Afghanistan where he is secretly held without charge or trial for at least seven years.[1][2]

The legal charity Reprieve said: "Rahmatullah had been unable to contact his family or a lawyer and was in a legal black hole".[3]

Mr Rahmatullah's mother, Fatima, said: "Our family was shocked when we learnt that the British Government might have been behind Yunus's disappearance. My plea to the British Government is simple: Tell me whether you picked my son Yunus up, and gave him to the Americans. It is my basic right as a mother to know whether my son is still alive. I cannot bear further suspense. You have the power to help me recover my disappeared child."[3]

Request for release in Pakistani court

After seven years Rahmatullas' family has asked the Lahore Court in Pakistan to secure his immediate release. Reprieve's Legal Director Cori Crider said: "We hope that tomorrow the families of seven Pakistanis languishing in Bagram may finally get some answers from Lahore's High Court. "After years of grief these mothers deserve to know how and why their sons - including an innocent 14-year-old kid - have not been brought home by the government of Pakistan."[4][5]

Request for release in UK courts

The Court of Appeal by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, Lord Justice Maurice Kay and Lord Justice Sullivan granted a writ of habeas corpus to Rahmatullah on December 14, 2011.[6] They determined that because he was captured in Iraq by British Forces the UK justice system had standing to rule on his detention. Lord David Neuberger, the senior judge on the three judge panel said there was:

"a substantial case for saying that the UK government is under an international legal obligation to demand the return of the applicant, and the US government is bound to accede to such an request."

The Court of Appeal agreed Rahmatullah's detention was "unlawful" and ordered Britain to pursue his release until January 18, 2012.[7]


  1. Casciani, Dominic (2011-06-23). "UK 'must help release detainee' in Afghanistan, High Court told". BBC News. Retrieved 2011-11-23.  mirror
  2. "Habeas corpus bid to free detainee | UK news". The Guardian. 2011-05-13. Retrieved 2011-11-23.  mirror
  3. 3.0 3.1 Verkaik, Robert (2010-04-16). "Family of rendition victim begins legal action against Government - Home News - UK". The Independent. Retrieved 2011-11-23.  mirror
  4. McGuffin, Paddy (2011-06-23). "Yunus Rahmatullah: Seven years of injustice / Britain / Home - Morning Star". Morning Star. Retrieved 2011-11-23.  mirror
  5. Paddy McGuffin (2011-11-21). "Bagram detainee case reaches court". Morning Star. Retrieved 2011-11-29. "All seven are Pakistani citizens who are being held indefinitely at Bagram without access to lawyers and without having been informed of the evidence against them."  mirror
  6. Richard Norton-Taylor (2011-12-14). "Bagram jail detainee unlawfully held, court rules: Appeal court tells British ministers to ask US to end Yunus Rahmatullah's seven-year ordeal at notorious Afghan prison". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-12-15. "The Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, Lord Justice Maurice Kay, and Lord Justice Sullivan, said the case raised important principles of law. Their court ruling is the latest in a series relating to the treatment of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan that have been highly critical of the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence. The judges rejected a claim by a senior MoD official, Damian Parmenter, that granting a writ for habeas corpus would be "futile"." 

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