Court grants application for secret hearings in rendition case

A High Court judge has ruled that closed procedures can be used in the case of two rendition victims who are suing the UK Government.

The March 22nd decision is believed to be the first time that British courts have agreed to sanction a “closed material procedure” in such a case, reports the Guardian.

The claimants, Amanatullah Ali and Yunus Rahmatullah, were captured by British troops in Iraq in 2004, then transferred to US custody and moved to Afghanistan, where they were detained for 10 years without trial.

In the ruling, the judge stated that secret hearings represented a “serious derogation from the fundamental principles of open justice and natural justice”. However, he found that the case would require the disclosure of sensitive evidence:

“Much of the material is undoubtedly sensitive. Disclosing it could reveal, amongst other things, the extent of the UK’s information about suspected terrorists and how that information was obtained.

“I accept that, notwithstanding the passage of time since the events occurred, revealing such information would be damaging to national security. I am also satisfied that, because of the potential significance of the material as evidence, Mr Rahmatullah’s claim cannot properly be tried unless the defendants are able to rely on this sensitive material in support of their case as to the reasons for his presence in Iraq and the reasons for his arrest, and unless there is an opportunity for a special advocate representing Mr Rahmatullah’s interests to challenge and test the reliability of the material and the inferences which the defendants seek to draw from it.”

Read the full report here.