UK SC upholds detention of Pak terror suspect by US
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Last Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012, 20:36
  
London: Britian's Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed an appeal by a Pakistani terror suspect to secure his release from US custody in war-torn Afghanistan.

Yunus Rahmatullah, 30, was captured by British forces in Iraq in 2004 and later taken to Bagram airbase in Afghanistan having been the subject of "extraordinary rendition".

Rahmatullah, a suspected insurgent, remains in US custody, without charge. He was demanding that the UK should press US to secure his release. The Supreme Court upheld a Court of Appeal ruling challenged by Reprieve, a legal charity.

Last year the Court of Appeal ordered Rahmatullah's return to UK authorities under the law of habeas corpus, an ancient tenet of English law.

However, that release order was cancelled in February by Court of Appeal judges after they were told the US authorities were not going to "play ball". A panel of seven Supreme Court judges has decided, by a 5-2 majority, to dismiss Reprieve's appeal against that decision, the BBC reported.

Under habeas corpus - which means "show the body" in Latin - Reprieve had sought to force the UK authorities to produce Rahmatullah.

Reprieve and Rahmatullah's solicitors, who took instructions from one of his relatives, said while he was being held by US forces at Bagram he remained under UK control as part of a "memorandum of understanding" with the US. They argued the UK government had the power to ask the US authorities to free him.

But in February British ministers said their efforts to persuade the Americans had "reached the end of the road".

Despite their appeal being rejected, Jamie Beagent, a lawyer representing Rahmatullah, said: "Today's judgment is a resounding affirmation of the principles of habeas corpus and its importance in defending the liberty of the individual from unbridled executive power.

"The government's attempts to row back on centuries of constitutional development and restrict the reach of habeas corpus has been rejected by the highest court in the land.

Beagent said the US was breaching the Geneva Convention and they would be drawing this to the attention of the Metropolitan Police, who are investigating Rahmatullah's case.

PTI


First Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012, 20:36


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