Leigh Day represents a large number of Afghan civilians who allege unlawful detention and abuse by British Forces. It also represents a number of Afghan interpreters who worked for the British Forces and often served on the front line to provide services for the British.
The firm is currently challenging the legality of British detention operations in Afghanistan in the case of Serdar Mohammed.
Serdar Mohammed v Ministry of Defence
Mohammed, a young Afghan father of two, was detained by the British Forces in April 2010 in Helmand Province. He reports that he was beaten and attacked by a military dog before being transferred to the British base at Camp Bastion and put in solitary confinement.
He was held by the British for over three months, during which he was subjected to sleep deprivation and repeated interrogations. At no point was he permitted access to a lawyer.
He was then handed over to the Afghan security services (the ‘NDS’), at whose hands he was severely tortured. He reports being beaten with sticks and electric cables, hooded, suspended by one hand, shacked in excruciating positions and having his testicles wrenched and twisted.
Eventually, he ‘signed’ a confession under duress was convicted as a member of the Taliban after a trial with no legal representation conducted in a language he does not speak. Mr Mohammed, who is illiterate and does not read any language, maintains his innocence
He was released in 2014 and returned to his family.
Leigh Day claim that Mr Mohammed’s treatment by British Forces and transfer to the NDS was unlawful and in breach of his human rights.
Related judicial review proceedings brought by the firm have already resulted in a moratorium being put in place on all transfers of detainees from the British Forces to the NDS facilities in Kabul, Kandahar and Lashkar Gah.
A preliminary issue trial on the legality of Mr Mohammed’s detention by British forces was held in January 2014.
In July 2015 The Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that the UK’s detention regime in Afghanistan was unlawful.