The British government’s claim that it is strengthening the rule of law is undermined by its treatment of Afghan civilians in custody
While working in Kabul on another legal case involving British troops, our interpreter introduced us to a man we shall call Ali. Ali, an illiterate farmer in his mid-50s, explained in a tired and shaking voice that since March 2012 his teenage son had been detained in a British military facility without charge or access to a lawyer. Ali described the agonising first two months when his son was held incommunicado – he had no idea where his son was and feared for his life. It was only when the International Committee of the Red Cross managed to get a message to him that he discovered his son was in British custody.
Ali is now able to speak to his son for an hour over the internet every fortnight but he has not been permitted to visit him in person. Ali’s son has not been told why he is being detained or what is going to happen to him. Neither Ali nor his wife have been able to sleep properly since their son was …read more