UK’s SOCA involved in U.S. Senate’s kill list in Afghanistan
UK police implicated in US Senate’s Afghanistan ‘kill list’
Get short URL Published time: July 17, 2013 08:26
A UK court case has alleged the British handed over target information for a secret military “kill list” in Afghanistan. Lawyers argue that UK authorities overstepped the mark, illegally providing information that led to targeted killings.
Papers with evidence of the UK’s Serious Organized Crime Agency’s involvement in a ‘kill list’ were submitted to the court on Wednesday, reported the Guardian. They pertain to the case of Habib Rahman from Kabul who lost two of his brothers, two of his uncles and his father-in-law in a blundered strike in 2010 in Takhar province.
NATO was believed to be aiming for Muhammed Amin, a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
British lawyers representing Rahman are calling for a judicial review of the Serious and Organized Crime Agency’s (Soca) role in the killings. They allege that Soca’s contributions to Nato’s Joint Prioritized Effects List (JPEL) violate the organization’s mandate and are illegal.
Soca works to fight organized crime internationally, working closely with partners around the world.
“The UK’s involvement in the list is not limited to military or intelligence officials but includes civilians working for SOCA,” say the papers filed to the high court obtained by the Guardian.
“The statements made by the Soca officer quoted in the report and by others during my trip to Afghanistan led to my understanding that Soca was indeed involved in collecting and evaluating evidence as part of the preparation of the [list],” said a witness statement from Douglas Frantz who was chief investigator for the committee of foreign relations in the US Senate at the time of the attack.
The UK Ministry of Defence and Soca both maintain that no concrete evidence to link British intelligence to the attack has yet been established and they work strictly within the bounds of international law.
“Our activity overseas is conducted in line with other UK government departments, which comply with the principles of international humanitarian law and human rights,” said Soca in a statement in September of last year when Rahmen began the legal process. The UK organization added that it “does not discuss” intelligence matters.
In 2012 the UN calculated that at least 14,728 civilians have died in the fighting in Afghanistan since N ATO forces intervened in 2001.
The UK has come under fire before for its human rights record in Afghanistan. In May reports emerged that Britain was holding 80 to 90 people in detention facilities in Afghanistan without charges. The UK is only authorized to hold suspects for 96 hours without charges.
The facility was condemned by lawyers as being the UK equivalent of Guantanamo Bay. In response to the reports, UK Secretary of Defense Philip Hammond issued a statement saying the prisoners in question would be returned to Afghan jurisdiction as soon as possible.
The UK parliament claimed they were ignorant of the presence of the detention facility and maintained they found out about it through press reports.
The issue of Afghan citizens being held by the US-led alliance force is a bone of contention with Kabul. President Hamid Karzai has expressed a number of times that Afghan prisoners should be transferred to the country’s authorities. The last of the alliances forces are scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014.
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