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British forces in Afghanistan

Leigh Day has represented more than 20 Afghan citizens in claims against the British Government. The claims relate to allegations of unlawful detention, inhuman and degrading treatment, assaults and unlawful killings by British soldiers in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2013. The majority of these claims were stayed pending judgment in the leading case of Serdar Mohammed,  but are now being progressed.

Serdar Mohammed  was arrested in Afghanistan in April 2010 and detained without charge for 104 days by British Armed Forces. He was then transferred to Afghan custody, where he alleges he was tortured, forced to thumbprint a confession and sentenced to a lengthy prison term following a 15-minute trial in a language he did not understand. In July 2015, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that Serdar Mohammad’s detention beyond 96 hours was unlawful. The Ministry of Defence appealed the decision and the matter came before the Supreme Court.

In January 2017, the Supreme Court held that, further to various United Nations Security Council Resolutions, British forces had the lawful power to detain prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan for a period in excess of 96 hours, provided this was “necessary for imperative reasons of security”.

However, the Supreme Court also found that British forces had a duty to provide adequate procedural safeguards to such detainees in order to avoid their detention becoming arbitrary and that Serdar Mohammed  had been deprived of these minimum safeguards.

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