[JURIST] UK human rights group Reprieve [advocacy website] announced Monday that it is initiating legal action [filing letter, PDF; press release] against the British government over the rendition of two terrorism suspects to Afghanistan. The two men were arrested by British troops in Iraq in 2004 and sent to the US detention facility at Bagram Air Base [JURIST news archive; GlobalSecurity backgrounder] in Afghanistan. Reprieve claims that the British government had never admitted to the rendition until UK Secretary of State for Defence John Hutton [official profile] gave a statement [MOD press release] to the UK House of Commons [official website] providing details of participation [JURIST report] with US forces in the rendition of terrorism suspects from Iraq to US detention in Afghanistan, possibly by way of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] program. The identity of the two men has not been officially revealed, and Reprieve is suing in order to get more information. Reprieve director Clive Stafford Smith said:
These two men have been held in appalling conditions for five years, and for all that time the British Government chose to do nothing. While we have not been able to identify their full names, we have learned that at least one of the men is now suffering from very serious mental problems as a result of his mistreatment. We have an urgent moral, as well as legal, duty to repair the damage his rendition has caused.
The British government has declined to share the men's identities asserting that it would violate their rights under the Data Protection Act [text].
Last month, Reprieve announced that it was suing the British government [filing letter, PDF; JURIST report] over the rendition of Mohammed Saad Iqbal Madni [advocacy profile] from Indonesia to Egypt, where it says he was tortured. The group alleges that the UK allowed the US rendition flight of Madni to stop on the British island territory of Diego Garcia [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], despite government claims that the island was not part of the CIA rendition program. Reprieve is seeking disclosure from both the UK and Diego Garcia governments of all information on Madni's treatment and Deigo Garcia's involvement in US renditions of terrorism suspects. It said the information was necessary for Madni to seek monetary damages from the government for what Reprieve said was the UK's complicity in his abuse.