LAHORE - Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) Barrister Sarah Bilal, lawyer for ten Pakistani detainees held by the US military in Bagram, on Wednesday warned that Pakistan is violating the Geneva Conventions by failing to repatriate its citizens.

The rendition of a Pakistani man by UK and US forces to Afghanistan, and his subsequent detention, has been described as “unlawful” and a possible war crime by Britain’s highest court. Yunus Rahmatullah was detained by British forces in Iraq in 2004, and rendered by the US to Bagram prison where he remains held without any charges or trial to this day. The UK Supreme Court deemed that the delay in setting free an individual cleared for release by the US authorities is a violation of international law.

As a consequence of the October 31st judgment of the UK Supreme Court, the government of Pakistan may also be in violation of the Geneva Conventions as failure to repatriate Pakistani detainees who have been cleared for release from Bagram makes Pakistan in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

There are currently 37 Pakistani citizens detained in Bagram without any charge or trial. Some detainees have been held in Bagram since 2003 without knowing when they will see their families again.

Barrister Sarah BelaI said: “With each passing day, the government continues to flout its obligations under international law and finds itself in further breach of the Geneva Conventions. The UK Supreme Court judgment is a wake-up call for the Government of Pakistan to take effective measures to ensure the repatriation of its citizens who have been languishing in Bagram for years.”

Also in attendance was Abdul Razzaq, the brother of Amnatullah, a Shi’a rice exporter captured with Yunus Rahmatullah in Iraq by UK forces. He was subsequently transferred illegally from Iraq to Afghanistan by US forces.

Abdul Razzaq stated: “It breaks my heart that  while the UK Supreme Court is ready to go to such lengths to ensure justice for a Pakistani citizen, Pakistani courts have yet to bring back my brother. Where is justice for my brother? When is he coming home?”

The ten detainees on the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) petition are Awal Noor, Hamidullah Khan, Abdul Halim Saifullah, Fazal Karim, Amal Khan, Yunus Rahmatullah, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shoaib Ahmed, Umran Khan and Amanatullah Ali. All ten are Pakistani citizens who have been held indefinitely at Bagram in inhumane conditions and without having been informed of their charges or evidence against them. Some have been there for many years. Some have been abused. One prisoner is merely 16 years of age and was seized two years ago at the age of 14. Another was not permitted to speak to his family for six years, and is believed to be in a grievous physical and psychological condition.