Taliban bombmaker ‘sues Britain for illegal detention’
Government launches Supreme Court appeal against ruling which it fears will open floodgates to hundreds of claims in Afghanistan and Iraq
Serdar Mohammed was held without charge for nearly three months before being handed over to the Afghan intelligence service, the NDS.
By Agencies, Telegraph
1:04AM GMT 02 Feb 2016
British armed forces face a string of compensation claims if the government fails to overturn a legal ruling that a Taliban bombmaker was detained illegally in Afghanistan.
Their success depends on the outcome of a test case that began in the Supreme Court on Monday.
Serdar Mohammed, a notorious Taliban bombmaker was held for 106 days to protect British troops and for his own safety, according to government lawyers.
British troops in Helmand, Afghanistan
However, last year he won an Appeal Court ruling that his detention was illegal because it was longer than the 96 hours specified by Nato guidelines.
James Eadie QC began the Ministry of Defence’s appeal by saying it made so sense to say that international forces in Afghanistan were permitted to use lethal force but not to detain prisoners.
“You could not possibly have a situation in which you had to release a person who poses a realistic safety threat to the troops and population so that they could take up arms again,” he said.
Mr Eadie also submitted that British troops may not have felt it sensible to transfer Mohammed to Afghan custody sooner, fearing he may be subjected to mistreatment.
British soldier in Afghanistan.
“The only alternative is release, but that can’t work because it would involve freeing the person back into the battlezone, free to re-engage in shooting and helping run the Taliban,” he continued.
Mohammed, who was eventually released earlier this year to return to his home in Helmand province, claimed that the Afghan authorities tortured him.
Following the Appeal Court’s ruling last year, the minister for the armed forces, Penny Mordaunt, said: “During his capture, our troops came under heavy fire, and three of them were wounded.
“The notion that dangerous insurgents cannot be detained for more than a few hours is ludicrous.”
The MOD continues with its appeal on Tuesday while the court is also expected to hear from Mohammed’s representatives.
The case, before nine Law Lords and Ladies, will end on Thursday.